I haven’t posted in quite some time out of pure indecision on what to write about; I didn’t want to write just to write, I wanted to write something meaningful. Seeing as Thanksgiving is tomorrow, it seemed fitting to write about gratitude.
I have always thought it to be odd to be grateful for only one day of the year, especially when the day after we tend to spend extravagant amounts of money on new things. Lately, I have been trying to be grateful more often than on that one day of the year. My goal is to be grateful for every day and I’m not quite there but I hope I will be soon.
It is incredibly easy to focus on all the negatives in your life. You spilled coffee on your favorite shirt, you were late to class, your card was declined at the store, and someone was rude to you at work. Sounds like a rough day and I believe you have every right to go home later and unwind however you see fit.
But you shouldn’t spend the rest of the night grieving over the losses of the day. We tend to only pay attention to the bad, even if it is outweighed by the good. Who knows why that is but I know it makes it a lot harder to improve your well being when your life feels like an overwhelming collection of rough days.
The other day I was able to pull myself out of a funk long enough to watch a TEDx talk that you can watch here. Essentially, this talk discussed how we can easily be persuaded to view something negatively when it is worded in terms of losses, even if the gains were greater. We have a baseline mood and if something awesome happens we shoot up but can return to that baseline fairly quickly. If something negative happens, we drop down but it takes far longer to return to that baseline than when something positive happened.
This means we actively have to work harder to ignore the negatives and return to the positives or even the neutrals. To be able to move past from that terrible day you had, you have to move on from the negative parts to the positive ones. You can start doing this by identifying 1 to 3 good things that also happened that day. Maybe someone complimented how you look, you rocked a presentation, or you caught up with an old friend. No matter how small it was, if it was good then it matters.
Considering the positive things in your day can help you to be happier and pay less attention the the bad. Those little things that happen during the day can be the same things we are grateful for and enable us to turn our day around.
Even if it was an absolutely terrible day, whatever the reason be, remember it is just one bad day. It is not a bad life. There are so many other, better days to be grateful for, even if they haven’t happened yet. Those are the days that make life worth living.
Right now, I am thankful for all the people in my life. I am thankful for my friends for being a listening ear and people I can unwind with. I am thankful for my family for always being people I can fall back on. I am thankful for my partner for always helping me to put things back in perspective when I start to spiral and for supporting me no matter what. I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have been presented with because they have introduced me to many of the people I know and I know that not everyone has had the same opportunities I’ve had. Lastly, I am thankful to be alive. I know I may not always feel that way but I know that overall it is true. I am glad to be here because there are so many positive things that have yet to happen but I know will, and I know they will outweigh all the negatives.