It’s impossible to be happy all the time. Who would want to be? The downs are what make the ups so enjoyable. The downs are what make the ups possible. Obviously we want to maximize the ups in quantity and degree and minimize the downs, but a lot of the time it’s beyond our control, and the uncontrollability of life is one of its most exciting, albeit frustrating aspects.
Whenever I’m feeling down (which happens easily when it’s 22 degrees out on March 18th and I’ve been patiently awaiting spring since last October), I go into a document I have on my phone titled: “Things I’m Grateful For”. I read through the list I’ve made, spending a few seconds pondering each point, and by the time I finish, I feel better. Every single time. Maybe I don’t feel amazing, but I immediately feel better than I did before.
If you’re reading this on the internet or even a crumpled, food-stained piece of paper you pulled out of someone’s trash bin while looking for scraps to eat, I already know you probably have a lot to be grateful for:
You’re alive (if you’re a zombie please go)
You have functioning eyes
You can read and write
You don’t have a serious mental disability
It’s too easy to take things for granted, but no matter what your life situation is, you have a ton to be thankful for. Now it’s one thing to recognize it, but another altogether to really appreciate it. When you learn to appreciate all you have, truly appreciate it, you will be happier. And you’ll have a neat little trick to make yourself at least a bit happier when you’re feeling down.
And yes, I know it’s terrible when you’re feeling down and someone tells you, “Cheer up, you have a lot to be thankful for!” My first reaction is to tell the person to shut his stupid face, and maybe that’s your reaction to me. In the interest of world happiness, I’m willing to suffer the brunt of it. But just realize that I’m trying to help, and what I describe definitely works. Or your money back.
Below are a few items on my own list. I won’t include everything since some are very personal and some may seem overly egotistical. As you can see, I don’t limit my list to any specific type of thing. It can be a possession, a personality trait, a person, an experience, whatever. In no specific order:
Things I’m Grateful For
– My intelligence
– My creativity
– Maki (brother)
– Jen (girlfriend)
– Buddy & Rigs (dogs)
– My education
– My health
– My friends
– My car
– All of my talents (then I list a few)
– My desire for success
– My computer
– My phone
– My life (as a whole)
– My personality
– My sense of humor
– My athleticism
– My willpower
– My belief in myself
As I read each item on my list, I imagine how my life would be without it. Then I spend a few seconds really thinking about it and feeling gratitude for it. By the time I finish, whatever was worrying me and whatever had me feeling down seem unimportant and insignificant in light of all I have to be thankful for.
If you write out a list, think of everything you have to be grateful for, and make it a daily (or more frequent) practice to go through the list, line by line, I promise you’ll be happier and your life will be better.