In any given situation we have the option to focus on what we already have before us and in our lives. Because our brains are geared to watch for dangers, we sometimes forget how wonderful and miraculous our lives are, including the things we have in them, and the situations we experience.
Has someone helped you recently? Did you catch a break on some discount, deadline, or deal? Are you glad the roof doesn't leak, and the car runs, or that the kids or pets are healthy this month? Did something finally get solved or resolved? Maybe some problem, glitch, or issue that was annoying and irritating? And what about the most mundane things we forget to acknowledge as "good today" or "good this very moment".
What we don't notice is that our monkey mind tends to wander off to the past and the future, ruminating about how things should have been, should be now, and about how terrible they can end up in the future unless we worry hard enough to prevent bad things from happening (which of course is not possible). So gratefulness is a great Mindfulness exercise. We can ask ourselves, "What am I thankful for right at this very moment?"
The next time you are sitting at a traffic light with nothing much to do but wait for the light to change, ask yourself in that moment, "What are three things I am grateful for right now?" Maybe you are grateful that the roads are clear and it's a sunny day. Or maybe you are grateful the traffic is not too bad at the moment. It can be anything at all.
You can make a new habit of giving thanks at key times throughout your day. Maybe think of three things you are grateful for while waking in the morning and preparing for your day. Or maybe finding thankfulness in the evening before going to bed. You can build these moments of gratitude into any part of your day and make them habit forming, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. It takes practice at first, but repetition makes the behavior.
Have a happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy all you feel grateful for. Then spread that Thankfulness throughout the year, making every day a day of thanks.
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you'll never, ever have enough." ~Oprah Winfrey
Thanks to Faith Goble for the great festive image