The year 2020 hasn’t been one of the best. COVID 19 has made this a unique eleven months.
Many are enduring the deaths of friends and family, loss of jobs, loss of business and savings, loss of mobility, houses lost in fires and natural disasters, pets and wild animals lost in fires, and much more. Many people throughout the world are suffering greatly, and it’s hard for nearly everyone to feel particularly grateful about the year.
There are no words to make it better for those who suffer, but many people around the world have stepped up to the plate and done kind and unselfish things to help others in need. For that, we should all be grateful. There are still many kind and generous people in the world, and we must never forget[WU1] that.
Focusing on the problems and worries does nothing to abate the situation. To lift the spirit a bit, how about focusing on the good things we still have?
“There aren’t any good things,” you say, and it certainly feels that way sometimes, but if you actually start listing them you’ll find quite a few things, material and non-material, you take for granted for which you can be grateful to still have.
WHAT GRATITUDE CAN DO FOR YOU
Professionals cite 40 years of research and studies to back up their claims that gratitude is good for all of us. Some of the reasons include the following:
●Gratitude makes us happier.
● Gratitude puts situations into perspective.
● Gratitude makes us feel more gratitude.
● Gratitude makes you friendlier, helps you make friends, and deepens friendships.
● Gratitude makes people like us.
● Gratitude makes us healthier: It improves your sleep, boosts your energy levels, and makes you more likely
● Gratitude makes us more optimistic.
● Gratitude reduces materialism.
●Gratitude requires humility, being modest and respectful.
●.Gratitude increases self-esteem.
● Gratitude makes us less self-centered.
● Gratitude strengthens our emotions.
● Gratitude develops our personality.
● Gratitude increases spiritualism. All major religions espouse gratitude as a virtue.
● Gratitude improves your health, sleep, and longevity.
● Gratitude helps you relax.
● Gratitude helps your marriage and family relationships.
●.Gratitude helps you bounce back.
● Gratitude makes you feel good.
● Gratitude reduces feelings of envy.
● Gratitude makes our memories happier.
●.Gratitude boosts our career by making you a better worker or manager.
● Gratitude improves your decision making.
● Gratitude increases your goal achievement.
● Gratitiude increase productivity.
This is a whopping big list… and promise, but supposedly it is verifiable research. Unfortunately, the wording, and particularly the verb form, makes it sound like a foregone conclusion these wonderful improvements definitely will occur.
I suppose that choice was made in the interests of being positive, and not a promise. Undoubtedly, some of these improvements will occur in some of the people who achieve a certain level of gratitude.
Liz Brown, writing for goodhousekeeping.com/life/ says writing out all the things she has to be grateful for, which is what most of the above professionals encourage, didn’t work for her.
She tried and, as a result, fell into a deep depression. She believes “Gratitude lists imply that those of us who are in pain are choosing misery and aren’t working hard enough.”
Instead, she wrote an ingratitude list. “My ingratitude lists helped me grieve the things that I'd lost, missed out on, been cheated out of and all the times life had kicked me straight in the heart. I learned that stuffing down anger and sadness with a stack of gratitude lists doesn't make them go away. Writing down the things that made me miserable and furious didn't make them go away either, but it helped me focus on the things in life that I wanted to change because they caused me suffering over and over again. My ingratitude lists gave me direction, focus and helped me move away from shame and toward acceptance and action. My heart still hurts, but I don't scream at myself for being selfish for being sad anymore.
I chucked my gratitude lists in the trash and cheered when I watched the garbage truck lift up the can and watch the stacks of legal pads go flying into the fetid hopper along with the rest of the rot.”
If you are tired of being told to “look on the bright side” and irritated, or furious, with well-intentioned friends and family who tell you that, then this is a good place to stop reading. Being told that someone else has it worse usually isn’t any comfort.
For the rest of you who believe it helps, which includes many psychologists, go through the following list, compiled from several sources, of things you might be grateful for. [To tell you the truth, some of the things listed wouldn’t ever come to my mind, and I don’t agree with others, but what do I know?]
Don’t focus on the bad, like Brown; turn your attention to the good things. I’m not saying that having a house, an income, or family and friends outweigh the death of a loved one, but looking at the positive side, they may help deal with the other losses.
There are always things we still have that we can be grateful for. Some of them we never think about, but when they are gone, we appreciate them. Many rate the “well, duh!” category, but we wouldn’t want to be without them. The following is comprised of lists taken directly from lifehack.org/thankful-for and thelawofattraction.com/100-things-thankful/ plus a few others and some of my own, and combined. They are grouped loosely but their importance to you is personal. Find those things you can be grateful for.
● Good Health
Even if your health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.
● Money in the Bank
Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.
● Having a Job or income
Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire. And you are employed and receive a paycheck. Having good co-workers is also a blessing.
● Having a Home
Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.
Even if your parents were dysfunctional, they gave you life. In the end, what matters most is family, and you have the ability to create your own.
● Having a Partner
Creating a future with someone. Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.
● Having children
Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.
● Good Friends
Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity. The ones you can always count on are priceless.
● Freedom of Religion
Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.
● Freedom of Speech
Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.
●. Freedom to Vote
Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.
Sleep and a Bed to Sleep In
A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one. Fresh bed sheets and duvet are even better. Sleep is another
● Goodnight kisses
● Waking up Today
Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for, and each day is a new chance to begin again!
● Bad days that make you appreciate the good ones
● Food on the table
There is nothing like a good home cooked meal.
Without laughter, the world would be a sad place. Uncontrollable laughter is a special experience.
● Safety and Security
Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.
Electricity enables us to have most of the modern conveniences and communication that we have today. They make life much easier and safer.
● Comfortable clothes appropriate for the weather
On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.
● Modern Medicine
Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.
● Living pain-free
Finding music that moves you and singing your favorite songs brightens the day. Music brings out new emotions.
● The progression of human rights
● All our senses
● Being able to experience all emotions
The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.
● Eyesight and Being able to see colors
Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.
Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.
● An Ability to Learn
The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.
● Being able to look forward to something
● Being able to set and achieve goals
● Learning from Mistakes
If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.
●4. Kindness of Strangers
When a stranger smiles at you or shows kindness and courtesy, never take that for granted. Pass it forward.
Without pain, it would be difficult to appreciate life’s joys.
Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.
● Wisdom that Comes with Age
Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.
● Your Mind
Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.
● The Ability to Dream
Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now
● The ability to help others
● Sincere apologies
● Open minded people
Physical and strength of character.
● The generosity of others
● Having some time to yourself
● Ability to have and pursue a passion
The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.
Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.
● The seasons changing
● Breathing Fresh Air
Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.
Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.
The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.
● Sunrises and Sunsets
The rising of the sun and Sunsets are reminders that we should enjoy the simple things in life and there will be tomorrow.
● Moon and Stars
The moon and stars encourage us to dream.
The world would be a boring place without diversity.
The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.
● Hiking Trails
● Opportunity to Get an Education
The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.
● An Ability to Read
If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.
● People Willing to Teach
Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.
Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home. You can go anywhere and be anyone if you read books.
● Finding people who bring the best out in you
There’s something magical about weekends and not having an alarm go off.
Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love. Puppies and kittens have a special place in everyone’s heart.
Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.
● Clean running water
Many people on earth lack access to clean water.
● Hot showers and feeling clean
● Good Hair Days
● Indoor Plumbing
Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.
The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.
Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.
● Cell PhonesCell phones make talking to loved ones easy.
● An Internet Connection
It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.
● Entrepreneurs and inventors
Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.
● Grocery Stores
Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.
Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.
● Air Conditioning
Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.
● Armed Forces
Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.
● Hearing good news
● Ice Cream
● Cups of tea
● Fresh countryside walks
They capture amazing memories
Religious, family and others.
● Nice neighbours
● Having deep conversations until the early morning
● Spell checker
● Jumping into a swimming pool in the summer
● Modern Transportation
● Old photographs
● Meeting up with old friends
● Snow days
● A nice bubble bath
● Not having to set an alarm
● Sunday mornings
The most important thing to be grateful for is the fact that you are unique in the world. There is no one else who is exactly like you.
You can decide that you are going to be happy and grateful, or not. Tomorrow you are going to begin again. However you celebrate Thanksgiving [or don’t celebrate that particular holiday] be grateful for what you have. It is not a matter of just thinking it, or saying it…live it in your thoughts and actions every day
Note: Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying the kindness to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept is old, but the particular phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight.