For far too many, the thoughts running across our mental landscapes right before going to bed are nothing remarkable. We think about what must be done tomorrow, rehash what didn't get done today, or dream of weekend activities we can't wait to enjoy. What we don't do is dwell on the day's brightest blessings. I will tell you one thing: those who count their blessings daily are much happier individuals than those who, say, count sheep.
Gratitude makes you and the individuals around you more at peace with life. Find an authentic reason to give thanks to the one you believe in, and put your full attention there. Gratitude is not a new topic of discussion, however, it is easily forgotten in. Many people are born crying, live their lives complaining, and die disappointed. The importance of cultivating a thankful character—one that notices small gifts and receives them gladly—is as timely and gracious as ever.
Life isn't happening to you, it's responding to you. The point of saying thank you and being gracious to our Lord is looking at life in a different light. Cultivating gratitude doesn't mean to fake a cheery disposition or to ignore the darker shades of life. What it's really about is taking a moment out of your day, everyday to truly be able to slow down and appreciate all of the things in your life. It should never feel like a chore. This entire process is meant to make you feel good. Give thanks genuinely, and more great things will begin to happen in your life. Notice what restores your heart, your soul, even in the smallest way, and relish in those moments as if each of them is truly a blessing.
This reorientation is generative. As your mind shifts, you become more focused on the life and goodness around you and find that you always have more to give to others. Awareness sometimes doesn't come naturally, but it can be born from habit. Change your habits, it's as simple as practicing to notice the changes around you. We challenge you to try this practice; to give thanks for the genuine things you're blessed with. You will begin to realize how many you over-looked, and how marvelous your life really is. Beyond feeling thankful, your whole life becomes oriented toward gratitude.
Photograph from Jay Alvarrez