If you were to ask me what I’ve been up to for the past month, I wouldn’t tell you a chronological list of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. Instead, I would give you a mishmash of moments. I’d tell you about getting avocado toast at brunch with a friend, and then recreating it at home and having it become my new favourite meal. I’d tell you about driving my sister to the surprise birthday party her friends threw for her, and the way her eyes lit up when she turned around the corner in the restaurant and saw the balloons and her best friends.
I’d tell you about reconnecting with my friends at coffee shops and drinking bubble tea on the first day that truly felt like spring and going to my first baseball game with my sports-obsessed friend. I’d tell you about a long-weekend trip to my cottage; about reading on the couch and watching the orange-streaked sky as night fell, about playing charades with my family, about kayaking against the wind in the hot sun.
I would tell you that I’ve stored these moments away in my mind, and that while I was living them I realized how lucky I was. I’d tell you that recently, I’ve started feeling really grateful for all of the little things in my life.
I’m a big believer that we can all take steps — small, or large — to bring happiness into our lives. I read all of those articles that pop up on Facebook, the ones with titles like “To be happy, do these eight things.” In almost everything I read about happiness, gratitude is mentioned. As I’ve started practicing gratitude by taking stock of the experiences, people and places I am fortunate to have in my life, I have definitely felt happier.
Although many articles suggest it, I don’t keep a gratitude journal, because I don’t really want to add a third journal into my journaling routine. But when I write in my daily journal, I do make an effort to mention all of the good things that happened that day, or the things for which I’m grateful.
I also like to make lists in my mind of the things I’m grateful for; sometimes it’s big things, like my job, my house or my family. But oftentimes it’s the small things, too — like that I had time to cut vegetables for my salad instead of haphazardly throwing lettuce into a container for lunch. Gratitude doesn’t have to be cheesy — it can come from a pure appreciation of the life that you are living.
The more I have consciously thought about gratitude — while writing in my journal, or making a mental gratitude list before going to sleep — the more notions of gratitude have unconsciously worked their way into my mind. That’s why I’ve stored away all those little moments that I listed in the beginning of this post. Recently, I’ve found that often as I’m living through a certain moment, I’m feeling grateful for the fact that I am there experiencing it.
I truly have so much to be grateful for in my life. All of these things on their own make me happy, but acknowledging that I am grateful for them prolongs my happiness. In my mind, gratitude goes hand in hand with positivity. Because I’m grateful for what was in my past and what is in my present, I’m positive that I will be grateful for my future, too.