Have you ever felt like things never seem to work out for you, and you have a grey cloud looming over your head that never seems to go away? Are there events outside your control that compound the problems you’re already facing at work and in your personal life that make you feel like you can’t catch a break? It can be easy for us to focus on the things that aren’t going well in our lives. It can also be a habit to commiserate with others about how terrible things are at work or at home, and how awful your boss, co-worker, or partner is. Perhaps talking about negative things has even connected you with others who also want to focus on things that aren’t going well. It is the “Well, if you think that’s bad, listen to this” scenario, and the sad stories flow back and forth.
Take a moment to reflect on how your body feels after you engage in these types of negative conversations, and you’ll notice that you’re left feeling unmotivated, uncomfortable, unenergized, and uninspired. If you stop and take a moment to think about how you feel emotionally after you’ve spent time focusing on your disappointments, you might notice feelings of upset, anger, resentment, and frustration. Our body is letting us know that it is time to realign ourselves and spend time reflecting on what is going well in our lives. The more we recognize the blessings in our life, the happier and more fulfilled we will feel. Gratitude is directly correlated with happiness. “Gratitude is a Key to Happiness: Gratitude shows you that the grass beneath your feet is greener than you think. Gratitude teaches you that happiness is always now,” writes Dr. Robert Holden, the author of Happiness Now. The more grateful we are for everything in our life, the happier we feel inside.
I make it a point every day to acknowledge and say thanks for the many blessings in my life. The opportunity to wake up and live another day is the most basic blessing and cannot be overlooked. The moment I open my eyes after a night’s sleep and am alive to experience another day, I am blessed. How many people would appreciate the opportunity to rise from their beds, healthy and pain-free, and begin living this new day? Every day is a fresh start. I have a body that is strong and allows me to move in many different ways, a mind that is intelligent and eager to learn new things, and a spirit that is serene and light. There are no ‘getting up on the wrong side of the bed’ mornings.
If I have a few minutes before I rise from bed, I will meditate and set my intentions for the day. I set the intention to share my love with others and make a positive difference in the lives of the people I will touch that day. I plan to avoid negative people and situations that will draw my energy. Instead, I try to surround myself with people who make my spirits rise and help me feel good about myself and the work that I do. Some days I practice saying positive affirmations, repeating the ‘I am’ mantra and inserting the adjectives that I need to hear. ‘I am smart. I am healthy. I am beautiful. I am abundant. I am provided for. I am amazing.’ I also recite the words, “I expect miracles today.” This statement places trust in the Universe to show you miraculous things, things that you could not imagine happening to you that day. Other days I use the words, “Something amazingly awesome is going to happen to me today,” from Pam Grout’s book Thank and Grow Rich. These phrases set up the day for God, Spirit, the Angels, or whatever you like to call it, to show you miracles in your day.
The miracles in my day show up like this: I am blessed to have my family, the beautiful home we live in (that keeps me sheltered from the elements); the jobs I go to and where I will try to make a positive difference in any way I can; the food I have to nourish me and the clean water I have to drink; the amazing country I live in; and the beauty of mother nature. Being in nature is where miracles surround me, and I feel truly blessed. Whether it’s a purple sunset, a full moon, a field full of fireflies dancing in the night sky, gently falling snowflakes (where no two snowflakes are alike), the sound of the rain while sitting in my car, the warmth of the sun upon my skin, leaves changing colour in the fall resembling a rainbow, or a slow-moving, buzzing bumblebee searching for nectar in small white flowers on my lawn, I am in awe of the blessings of nature. These are moments where I stop what I am doing, I make a conscious effort to ‘be in the now’ and appreciate the beauty of God’s work that surrounds me. If we open our eyes, we can see the simplest of miracles. Happiness can be found in the appreciation of the synchronicity of all the small components in our Universe that make up the whole.
We don’t have to go through hardship to appreciate the life we have, but often it is through sadness, loss, tragedy, illness, and other types of adversity that we realize the blessings we have in our lives, or even just what it means to be alive. In June 2013, my perspective on life changed forever when I lived through a natural disaster that made me realize things about life that I could not have understood before it happened. Driving home on a dirt road in the rain, I found myself in the path of a tornado. After trying to outrun the tornado by driving in reverse, I decided to stop my car and pray the debris that was falling all around me would miss my car. In a scene you could liken to from the movie A Wizard of Oz, no wreckage fell upon me, and my vehicle and I remained untouched. This terrifying experience changed my perspective on life forever.
I now live each day with an appreciation to be alive. We do not know when we are going to die or how. That day on my way home, I could not have imagined what lay ahead of me on a trek I did every day, and it could have been my last. Our life can be cut short, even in an instant, by so many things. I want to live my days being grateful for everything that makes up my life. I now find myself thanking the Universe several times during the day for even the simplest of pleasures. Things such as finding a parking spot near the front door, dealing with helpful and kind people, or situations that could have gone badly but instead turn out in my favour.
Assign time each day to think about your blessings, big and small, and give thanks for their presence in your life. You might do this through mental reflection, while doing physical movement (such as yoga), or writing in a journal. At the end of the day, is when I make time for my gratitude practice. Every evening before I fall asleep, I recite all my blessings. I go through all the things I am grateful for as a way of telling the Universe that I want to invite more of what makes me happy into my life. Thinking about what you love and appreciate helps to attract more of these blessings into your future. Notice how you feel right after doing this practice. Even the smallest blessings will leave you feeling a sense of happiness.
Teresa Greco is the author of the book Steps to True Happiness, and the coauthor of the book The Decision to Heal. She is an educator and educational technologies consultant with a master’s degree in Education from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is the editor and senior writer at two Canadian lifestyle magazines. Teresa is also a happiness coach and reiki practitioner who does public speaking, holds workshops, and mentors others about embracing, honouring, loving, and celebrating their true authentic self and achieving their own personal happiness and fulfillment. You can follow Teresa on her Instagram page @teresagreco_stepstohappiness and Facebook page, Steps to True Happiness with Teresa Greco. You can also connect with Teresa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org about speaking engagements, workshops, and services.
Photos: JoVi Photography IG@jovi11photography
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