This time of year you see a lot about the importance of gratitude. There is usually a some sort of viral thread on Facebook or Twitter where you state what you are grateful for each day for the month of November. I admit, I do love this because it is important to remember all of the things that we are grateful for. However, it is usually the big things in life being discussed. I like to remember how to be grateful for the little things.
What do you mean, you ask? What is the difference? If you are sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table you might here things like, “I am grateful for my family.” Or, “I am grateful for my health.” These are big things. This Thanksgiving, I want to sit back and reflect upon all of the itty-bitty little things I am grateful for. The things in every day life that may go unrecognized but that bring us so, so much joy.
How to Be Grateful for the Little Things
Step 1: Stop to smell the roses
I will be the first to tell you that I do not stop to smell the roses. In fact, I do not stop, well…ever. One of my students once compared me to a bumble bee. She said it was like I was always buzzing around, student to student, never stopping. When I taught in a traditional classroom (I now teach online), I did not use a chair and had my desk pushed against a wall. Like I said, I never stop.
It’s worse as a mom in the matter of always being “on the go”. There is always something else to do. Something more that someone needs. What happened to all of the hours of the day? Seriously, where did they go? I need them!
Now, I am a toddler mom and let me tell you there is quite a bit I can learn from my daughter rather than the other way around. For one, she literally stops and smells the flowers. She finds everything in nature absolutely amazing. One day, last spring while actually smelling the flowers in our backyard, she found a ladybug.
My daughter stopped running amok (in true toddler fashion) and just observed the ladybug. She admired the red and black “polka dots” and reveled in the sensation of those little legs crawling up and down her arm. When she gently placed the ladybug back upon it’s flower, she thanked her. This, my friends, is being grateful for the little things.
My advice to you and to myself is to just stop once in a while. Stop and breathe. Just be still. Then, move to step two.
Step Two: Take Stock
Once you have slowed all the way down, it is time to take stock. What do you see? What do you feel? For instance, I love to stop and watch my daughter play or sleep. There is just something about seeing her in action and then conversely seeing her so peaceful that makes me stop and take notice.
Of course, I am grateful for my daughter. I am grateful each and every day for the miraculous gift of her in my life. But here I am focusing on the little things instead of the big picture. For example, my daughter makes these little noises when she is really happy and excited. To be honest, they sound like the rasping gurgle that the zombies make on The Walking Dead. Thus, we refer to them as her “Happy Walker Noises”.
Someday, someone will probably tease her for these noises and she will stop. But for right now, I love just closing my eyes and listening her play princesses or Legoes and make her little noises. The very first day we were in the hospital together, she laid in my arms and made these same noises. Maybe she heard all of the Walkers making the noise while I was on bed rest or maybe these noises mimic the sounds of the womb. In any case, it is something so small, but so sweet.
Of course, you are grateful for your kids and your family. But what are the little things that they do that really warm your heart? Does someone have a funny laugh or a beautiful smile? My grandfather’s eyes would crinkle when he was being mischievous and you could see the little boy in the ninety-two year old man. These are the things I take stock of, especially now that he is gone.
So, take stock. Become attuned to your five senses. Doesn’t the smell of cinnamon remind you of the holidays? Isn’t there something about that first taste of coffee in the morning? Take an inventory of these little things because they can bring you so much happiness!
Step Three: Make a List and Check it Twice!
You have now slowed down, taken stock, and it is time to do every mom’s favorite thing. Make a list! This list is where you acknowledge all of those little things in life that you are grateful for. Instead of only sharing them around the Thanksgiving dinner table, post them on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself that these little things are what makes life beautiful.
I have a compiled a list of little things to be grateful for. These are possibly items you would include on your own list. The items here are things that take no time or any real effort, yet yield so much happiness. Sometimes we just get so caught up in the hustle-bustle that we forget to appreciate them.
Did you know that appreciating the little things in life is actually great for your health? BrittanyAnneF
Seriously, check out my list of little things to be grateful for AND the amazing health benefits!
There you have it! The research shows that appreciating the small things in life is good for you- mind, body, and soul. So, this Thanksgiving think about all those tiny things that are really life’s pleasures. Hug, kiss, and be merry. Happy Thanksgiving!