Being Grateful and Happy

So the last few posts have been downers, right? Lonely old me with no friends where I live. Poor old me with the sucky dad who screwed up my head.

Obviously, these are just snippets of what’s going on in my world. In the larger picture, if you’ve been following the blog or chatting with me in real life, is that I’m doing phenomenally better in terms of my mental health and outlook. [So much so that my doctor and I have even talked about my getting off my meds (that is for another post because it is a whole lotta stuff to deal with).] So it’s time to infuse this blog with some positivity. It’s time for a post about being grateful and happy.

happy-flowers

Happy face rainbow flowers – Image courtesy of Prawny (morguefile.com)

Remember my post about choosing your attitude?  It takes some work, but last year I participated in 2 groups that helped. I started 2 practices in those groups that I continue to use to help my outlook. I name the things that make me happy, and I name the things for which I am grateful.

I joined this Facebook group called 100 Days of Happiness, in which every day for 100 days you post a picture of something that made you happy that day. This is a public group, and several of us have continued beyond the 100 Days. See, here I posted that picture of my bike on Day 118 of 100 Happy Days. I put that fake flower on my bike and when I see it, it makes me smile. That’s a little thing, but so important.

This is from the 100 Days of Happiness FB page.

This is from the 100 Days of Happiness FB page.

I also joined a private Facebook page my sweet sister set up for me called 100 Days of Gratitude, in which every day for 100 days my friends and I would post something we were grateful for that day. On Day 79, I posted about a boring old, Friday morning. Nothing earth shattering. I was in bed, reading a book. But, man, I am so grateful for mornings like that.

This is from the 100 Days of Gratitude FB page.

This is from the 100 Days of Gratitude FB page.

Of course, not every day is sunshine and roses and little babies smiling at you. Some days, many days, are hard and cut into you and make you want to cry or scream or hit someone or develop a drug habit. You have a fight with your spouse. Your child screams that she hates you. You screw up a project at work. You burn dinner. It’s those days when you may have to work to find something to be happy about or grateful for, but it’s still totally possible. Yep, it’s possible amidst all the crap to find some teeny tiny sliver that is good. And that’s what we have to do. That’s what I have to do.

The gifts we choose to witness to help us in being grateful and happy don’t have to be lottery winning moments. For example, once I was taking a shower and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m so lucky, so grateful, that I can turn on this tap and clean water comes out. And I can make that water warmer or colder to suit me, and I can stay in here for 30 minutes if I want to, and the water won’t run out.’ You know what? That is a luxurious gift. Many people in the world don’t have that convenience, but it’s something that I take for granted 99.99% of the time. Last week I showered 2 or 3 times a day because it was so hot. I didn’t give it a second thought that I might have to go to sleep with dried sweat on my body or with dirt encrusted feet from playing in the sand at the park with Emmy. Whenever I want, I can get in my shower, cool off, and get clean. Thank you, clean, running water. You make my life so much better.

(See how easy that was?)

This practice of being grateful and happy isn’t just easy, it’s empowering. Like a lot of practices I’ve written about (meditation, expressive writing,  relationships, forgiveness, mantras), being grateful and happy is linked to increased health and emotional resilience – improved quality of life. In other words, it’s free therapy, people. Use it and make your life better. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Here are my happiness/gratitude lists for today.

I am happy

  • To have my husband back after a 3 day business trip.
  • To have the morning to myself while my husband takes our daughter to dance class.
  • To write a blog post. Writing makes me happy.
  • In 5 weeks I’ll go back to the States for a 4-week visit. Yahoo!!
  • The weather is gorgeous today.

I am grateful

  • I get some alone time with my husband this afternoon while our daughter is at a birthday party.
  • For endless cups of coffee.
  • That I work freelance and have a ridiculously flexible schedule.
  • For my mommy. She is the best.
  • For my friends. They are my rock.

 

Need More Inspiration for Being Grateful and Happy?

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_great_gratitude_strategies

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/happiness_greatest_hits

 

thank-you-text

and have a happy day!

3 thoughts on “Being Grateful and Happy

  1. Elizabeth Pittman

    After Reagan died I lost the balance of my mind. I lost interest in nearly everything that had interested me before — gardening, reading, collecting vintage/antique clothes, etc. I had no interest in playing music, tho my 3 remaining brain cells said DO IT ANYWAY, EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO. I lost the ability to focus, or even to think, and I lost most of my ability to remember 90% of what has occurred in my life (which hasn’t ever returned). As the balance of my mind began its slow return, I decided my mission in life would be to look for beauty and joy. Big Wow beauty and joy would be great, and teeny tiny beauty and joy would be every bit as good. It helped me tremendously, and still does. I’m still looking for beauty and joy and I find it everywhere, and I am grateful to be so lucky now.

    It sounds like that is what you are doing and I applaud your efforts.

    Reply

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