Gratitude and feeling good
Growing up, I wasn’t particularly religious. At family dinners we often said prayers that included thanks for the food we were about to eat and other things. For me at the time, these were simply rote statements without much personal meaning. After all, my Dad had worked for this food we were about to eat, my Mom worked to prepare it, so what unseen force helped make this meal happen that we had to thank? It just didn’t make any sense.
What I’ve found today is that regardless of personal beliefs about religion, god or the nature of the universe, there’s something directly beneficial about just feeling grateful.
Every day, on my morning commute, I say out loud all the things in my life today for which I’m thankful. I don’t rush through some mental checklist like I’m trying to get a chore done. Instead, I take the time to picture each good thing in my life (my wife, our home, each member of my family, the yummy food I ate this morning, and so on). I feel how grateful I am to have that be a part of my life today. I feel the truth of each one – my wife’s wishes for a good day, my satiated tummy, etc.
When I do all this, I immediately feel happier. I feel a bit of stress lift from my body. I often wind up with a smile on my face.
So instead of focusing on attributing the good things in your life to God, your hard work, or otherwise, instead focus on simply feeling grateful for each one. Try this every morning for one week and if it works for you, make it a part of your daily routine. More personal happiness from such a simple action is definitely worth it.
Image courtesy Cheerytomato.