Isn’t it interesting how Black Friday, a day that relies on people’s desire to want more, comes the day after Thanksgiving, a day that reminds people to be thankful for what they have? I’m not going to write a negative post about Black Friday or consumerism in America, but I will say this: expressing gratitude does not cost you anything and is proven to increase happiness.
I wrote in a gratitude journal daily for a couple years. I kept the journal in my nightstand and every night before I went to bed I wrote down one thing I was thankful for that day. On the last day of the year, I read my entire gratitude journal and felt great happiness as I recalled the big and small things that had happened in the past year that I was thankful for.
For me, it is easy to feel gratitude for the people in my life, and I often express my feelings to these people. This past year I really learned to be thankful for my health and appreciate my body. I frequently saw a young woman at my gym who has a physical disability (I assume a result of a car accident). She uses a walker for support and is not able to lift weights the way I do. Whenever I work out and see her, I run a little faster or put a little more effort into my lift, because I remember how lucky I am to be able to do these things. Some people come to the gym and have the mindset that they “have to get through” the workout, but I try to appreciate my body for all it is capable of doing during my workouts instead. Gratitude is created from a simple shift in mindset. Instead of thinking that you “have to” do something, think that you are able to do that thing. Have an attitude of gratitude.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Let me encourage you to get up every day and focus on what you do have in life. Be thankful for the blessings of the little things, even when you don’t get what you expect.” – Victoria Osteen