I believe that your happiness depends on learning to appreciate the little blessings that are a part of your day. Too often, you focus on your frustrations like losing your car keys or burning a pan of cookies. Your vision becomes too narrow and you don’t see the vibrant leaves lighting the landscape or hear the friendly “hello” offered by a neighbor. Instead, your eyes are clouded by a two-page to-do list that’s supposed to bring you a little closer to your ultimate dream.
Dreams are important, but you can’t depend on them for happiness. If you’re waiting for a dream to come true before you’re truly happy, you may miss millions of chances to enjoy the simple gifts woven through your days.
In my own life, I’ve found a simple way to count my blessings. Next to my bed, I keep a fuzzy purple notebook and a pen. Before I click off my light at night, I jot down at least five good things about my day. My list includes entries such as: went to the movies with my sisters, finally finished cleaning my room, enjoyed every bite of an ice cream sundae, sat by a campfire with my friends.
At first, you might think making a list every night won’t have a huge impact on your outlook or the way you think. But the list works like my training schedule for skiing. One day, I do over-distance skiing to increase my endurance. Another day, I may do a speed workout to improve my quickness. No one workout makes a significant difference, but the combined efforts help me become a successful athlete. In the same way, my list of blessings slowly trains me to find the joys hidden in my day. It happens slowly, but my ability to appreciate simple gifts has improved.
My list of blessings also helps me find happiness because it teaches me too look at how much I have. A lot of the time, it’s tempting to focus on everything I might like to have. Today, many people believe happiness hinges on owning the newest gadgets, and they spend their time working to earn enough money to buy them. It’s easy to forget what you already have in your life. When I begin to write a daily list of my blessings my eyes are forced to notice the riches in my life. I learn to be thankful for a home cooked meal, a new pair of warm wooly ski socks, and a quiet moment for a nap.
Writing a daily list also reminds me that I have the power and choice to be happy. Who are the happiest people in your life, and what are their secrets? If you asked them I’m sure they have learned to be thankful for all of life’s treasures, no matter how small. The radiant rainbow after spring showers, a tight hug from someone you love, it’s these little things that truly enrich your life.
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