“What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were thankful for today?”
When my friend shared this quote with me earlier this year, it hit me between the eyes. If I’m honest with myself, the list of things that are right in my life is much longer than the list of things that are wrong in my life.
Although it may seem like a chore, being thankful is one of the most effective ways to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
There is a documentary on Netflix I watched a few months back called Happy. This documentary studies the factors that most affect our happiness and overall well-being. They discovered that only 10% of happiness has to do with our circumstances (what job we have, how healthy we are, how much money we have, our status in society), but 40% of happiness was based on our decisions.
Did you catch that? According to this documentary, only 10% of your happiness is determined by your circumstances, but 40% is a choice—a decision to be happy.
And one of the best ways to be happy is to embrace—that’s right, you guessed it—thankfulness.
So how do we practice a lifestyle of thanksgiving?
Often when we think of being thankful, we think of rattling off a quick list of 50-ish things we are grateful for. But this can become dull.
Instead, try this:
- Focus on one thing you are thankful for.
- Feel the emotion of gratitude for this person or thing in your life.
- Then say, “Thank you, Lord, for _______.”
You can repeat this exercise for multiple things you are thankful for, but the important thing is quality over quantity. The more you feel the emotion of gratitude for the things you have been given the better.
I encourage you to practice this habit every day. If you miss a day, don’t worry about it. But the more consistent you are in the practice of being thankful, the easier it will be for you to be grateful. And in doing so, you will harness one of the most effective ways to instantly improve your life and the lives of those around you.