So many of us take for granted things like eyes for seeing and legs for walking or hopping. We just don't even think about these little miracles. Yet there are others who have no idea what it's like to see a sunrise or what it feels like to take a walk through the rustling fall leaves. Gratitude, and it's sibling (appreciation), for our common everyday blessings is virtually nonexistent. Sure, we have gratitude for the big things in life but we fail to give thanks for many of the smaller things we have. Gratitude won't make problems and threats disappear, but it will lessen their impact on us and make us better able to deal with whatever life throws our way.
I want to become a more grateful frog and so I did a little research on what makes humans highly grateful (hey, it might work for me, too!) and here are six things that they do:
1. Once in awhile, they think about death and loss. These highly grateful humans think about their own deaths, the deaths of those they love, and what life would be like without those big events (meeting your spouse, getting that massive job promotion, going on a world cruise, etc). They become even more grateful when they realize all they have. When you find yourself taking something for granted, try giving it up for a week or two, When you abstain for a while, you learn to appreciate its value in your life. For me, I did this with chocolate...and my favorite tea. it was a tough couple of weeks but I sure was grateful to get them back!
2. They take time to smell the roses. And it's not just roses; it can be the smell of your new car, that cup of great coffee, or the lavender oil you put mindlessly put into your bathwater. Take time to enjoy the smells of your life, They can bring ou great joy and much gratitude. Just imagine your life without your nose....
3. They take good things as gifts...not their birthright. Entitlement. That's the opposite of gratitude. Highly grateful humans see all the positives in their life as gifts which encourages deeper gratitude. they don't believe that these things are owed them just by virtual of being alive....or because they're just so darn special. They understand that humans, and us critters, too, aren't owed anything. That makes it easier to see good,positive things as the gifts they are.
4. They're grateful for people, not just things. The sun shining in the sky and the beautiful green lily pad I live on...they don't care a twit if I'm grateful for them, or not. But my family and friends? They positively glow when i tell them how much they matter to me and how grateful i am to have them in my life. Tell the humans in your life what they mean to you. They may know this, but it sure is nice to hear someone say, "I'm grateful that you're my Mom (spouse, daughter, friend...) and my life is so much better because you're in it." But the fact that trees and sunlight, etc, don't know, or care, that you're grateful for them shouldn't excuse you from realizing how important they are!
5. They mention pancakes. Grateful people are specific as to why they love, or admire, others in their life. These highly grateful humans will say stuff, like, "I'm grateful for the pancakes you make me every Saturday morning so I can sleep in a little later and not worry about breakfast." Give those you love specific reasons as to why you cherish them.
6. They "thank" outside the box. being grateful for nice things is pretty easy, right? But what about thanking the homeless person who asked you for change? Or for the boyfriend you dumped you on your birthday? Not so easy to be grateful for those things. But they are, indeed, gifts. Be grateful for the job you have that allows you to GIVE money to the homeless person and for the warm and safe shelter you have. Be grateful to the jerk boyfriend. He did you a favor. You might have ended up marrying this guy! We all suffer in life. That's just the way it is. Being grateful for the good, as well as the bad (and the lessons you can learn) is all part of being grateful for the amazing life you have.
I know I've learned a lot from my research and I plan on putting these six tips into daily practice. I need to work on appreciating everything I have...even the bad stuff. That's not easy, but necessary if I want to be a truly grateful frog. And I hope that, in some small way, I've helped you to be more grateful for what you have, as well.
Life sure is amazing, isn't it?