Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary Through Gratitude.

Gratitude makes your life better. It’s a truth that comes back to me again and again. Practicing gratitude daily and weekly helps you see the beauty and wonder that we lose when we start taking the comforts of our lives for granted.

Simply by watching coworkers who struggle with an unhappy marriage while yours is happy, or seeing that your family is financially stable while a sibling or family member is plagued by money troubles you can find a reason to be thankful. When you click through the television channels and see people in third world countries struggling to find clean drinking water, or receiving the most basic of medical care such as bandages and aspirin, we can come to realize the blessings of the conveniences we use every day without thinking.

How about the benefits of clean, fresh running water? Think of not having clean water to drink, wash and cook with. The next time you turn on your tap, give a big thank-you to the universe for your good fortune. Give a prayer of thanks for the healthy, wholesome food available in your local grocery store. Think of all the people involved; from the farmers to the truck drivers, stockers and cashiers, everyone that helps grow and deliver that food to you.

You can move your attention to the clothes you are wearing. From the plants, factories and workers that make the clothes, to the stores that stock and sell them, and finally to the production and sale of the affordable machinery that washes and cleans the clothes in the convenience of your own home. You can give thanks for the workers who maintain the roads you drive on, from the asphalt layers to the engineers and city planners who regulate and plan the layout and design of interstates and city streets.

Gratitude can be found almost anywhere. Once you start looking, it’s easy to keep finding more and more things to be grateful for. There are books to read, libraries to borrow from, thrift stores with low prices that recycle books and goods for others to use. We have movies to entertain us, video games to play, board games and card games, playgrounds for the kids, zoos to visit and more.

These are just a few of the ordinary, everyday things I am grateful for. I’m sure your list is quite different or even longer. Gratitude is like a magic pair of sunglasses; when you put them on the world seems brighter, kinder and more connected than before. Appreciation for the good things in your life can help you feel more satisfied with life overall, making you feel happier, calmer and more at peace. Increasing the awareness of the beautiful things in life like family, friends, health and home is a great recipe for a fuller life and a more positive perspective, and that can only be a good thing.

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