We live in a society where value and status are placed on material things like cars, homes, and clothes and we all dream about having more – more money, bigger homes, more cars – yet collectively so many of us just never seem to be consistently happy. In fact, instead of feeling deeply and truly grateful for what we do have, we feel envious of the people who have more than us.
Being in constant competition with neighbors, coworkers, or family members is exhausting. It causes us to lose sight of the important things in life, such as children, relationships and health. Placing a strong value on things causes us to feel unfulfilled and creates an inner tension that drives us away from happiness. Happiness isn’t defined by the amount of stuff we can collect.
If you had to list what’s good in your life, right now, and you weren’t allowed to mention any material possessions, would you have a hard time coming up with the list? Do you have a hard time just being happy and grateful because you’re always longing for something bigger or better?
We all have big dreams for ourselves, but we can’t begin to work toward our goals until we accept who we are and where we’re at right now. That acceptance begins with a sincere appreciation for the life lesson’s of yesterday and the talents and skills we have today.
Sure, we all want a big house, nice furniture, big-screen TVs, better paying jobs, luxury cars, gourmet food, fancy jewelry, and designer clothes – but how can we appreciate the finer things in life if we can’t be thankful for the simple things?
After all, a big-screen TV won’t matter if you didn’t have your eyes to see and your ears to hear! Of course, desiring good quality items isn’t wrong, but your focus should be on living and enjoying your life, not things.
- Expressing your gratitude doesn’t have to be reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. Share with your family why you’re grateful today and really listen to what your family says in return.
- Encourage your kids to dig deep in their souls to find their gratitude. Kids need to learn how to take their focus off of material items and onto influential people, positive experiences, and quality of life.
Refocus Your Thoughts with a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is simply a notebook where you write down everything in life you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to take more than 5 minutes in the early morning or before bed each night. The idea is to clear your mind, reflect on what you have to be thankful for and see the goodness in life.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Buy or make yourself a nice, attractive journal so you’ll take care of it and will look forward to journaling everyday.
- Reflect on anything new that came your way: new friends, clients, or opportunities.
- Don’t be shy about repeating things from previous days; praising your good health and loving family never tires.
- Did a friend do something nice for you today? Did you find a lost item? Did you handle a difficult situation well? Gratitude isn’t reserved for really big things; you can be grateful for the small things, too.
- Periodically, go back over your journal and read all that you’re grateful for. It’ll be a great pick-me-up on especially difficult days.
The more you add to your journal, the more you’ll teach your mind a new way of thinking. Your outlook on life will become more positive and you’ll feel a deeper sense of connection with those around you. And you’ll discover the sheer beauty that already exists in your life.