One of the common well-being suggestions out there is the one of being grateful. You know the one – write down three things you are grateful for. The idea is that looking at the small things that you are grateful for can help your state of mind, it gives us a sense of our life is okay, and that we have enough.
The concept of gratitude helps with self esteem, with minimalism, with financial strategies, with diet… a whole array of things. A simple concept that is quite powerful.
Which is all well and good. It’s not always that easy though. I’m a pretty optimistic person, without a full blown Pollyanna complex, but I do try to look on the bright side of life. But in the depths of winter even I can struggle to think what I’m grateful for.
- Yes, I’ve got a job.
- I’ve got a warm house.
- I’ve got food on my table.
When I wake up and it’s minus 3 outside and I have to get up for work, that first one doesn’t seem so big a thing to be grateful for! I’d rather curl up under the covers and stay in bed. That’s winter for you. I should have been a bear and could hibernate!
I often say to myself and others “first world problems”. Yes material comforts and a bit of money are helpful, but the most important things in life are health, family and community. And we do tend to almost not acknowledge the basic things we have in our lives. Things others might consider huge luxuries.
I do keep a gratitude diary, I might be grateful for a good yoga class, or the warm sun on my face at lunchtime. It’s amazing how often I struggle for that third thing, as we tend to take the basics in life for granted, so we’re looking for “extra things”. But actually, today I’m glad I had a warm bed to sleep in when it was minus three outside. I’m glad that I had a job to go to and could take my lunch outside and sit in the sun and enjoy a break in my working day, and I’m grateful that I am healthy enough to get off the bus a stop early and walk the extra distance and enjoy that sunshine for the last few minutes of the day*.
What are you grateful for? Do you struggle to find things, or do you feel gratitude for all the small things in our western lives that make our lives simple? Does it help your overall well-being?
Oh and just because…. it’s winter and you might need a reminder, I hope this makes you smile.
*it might have started minus three but got to seventeen, the beauty of New Zealand’s weather!