People often to think it will come from having some great luck or fortune. Of course it could feel great to win the lottery, and great friends, money, houses, travel – these are all good things, but not enough by themselves. The right frame of mind is necessary to fully enjoy life. You need the attitude of gratitude.
Your life is better when you feel blessed, when you can look around and say “Thank you, God,” or “Thank you universe.” Whether or not you are religious, when you see life as a wonderful gift, your experience is a richer one.
Of course, it is easy to think that gratitude comes from having what we want. We might imagine ourselves giving thanks if we had money, a loving family, and maybe a house on the beach. But we know there are ungrateful, unhappy people with these things. We also know that there are poor people full of gratitude for what little they have, so where does this feeling come from?
An attitude of gratitude arises from how you look at things. It is the natural feeling that comes when you recognize the real value of the people and things in your life. Focus on the good and you cannot help but have a better attitude and experience of life. Gratitude, then, is something you can encourage, something you can learn.
The first step is to stop and smell the roses. How can you be thankful for something you don’t notice or enjoy? By the way, roses really do smell great.
The second step is to make this appreciative approach to roses and life a habit. You don’t need to ignore the ugliness in the world. Just consciously choose to see the good and beautiful things, until doing so becomes automatic.
One way to encourage this habit is to start writing down every positive thing that happens to you, and all the things you like. Continue this until you start automatically seeing the good things in life. If you’ve ever bought a white car, and started seeing white cars all over, you know how awareness and focus can alter your perception of reality. In the same way, once you are aware of the good, and start looking for it, you’ll start to see wonderful things all over.
Simple exercises like the one above train your mind with time. When you are in the habit of “counting your blessings,” gratitude, and a much richer experience of life is the natural result. You will have an attitude of gratitude.