by Mayuri Gonzalez
“There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein
Without stopping to pay attention, we miss a lot of life’s little treasures and gifts. Our focus can be so skewed towards the negative and what is “wrong” with our life. Just think about it. We can easily rattle off all of the reasons why we are stressed and in a bad mood, or list the things that annoy, anger or sadden us. Mass media operates in a similar way, often focusing on all that is going badly without presenting a balanced perspective of all the good in the world. How much of your day do you spend thinking or worrying or resenting what is wrong? Is it just as easy to list all the treasures or things that are “right” and beautiful in your life?
PRACTICE: 5 Minute Gratitude List
In your notebook or journal, take five minutes to list the things for which you are grateful. Your list can be inspired by major components of your life such as family, friends, shelter, education, etc. or subtler things such as the warmth of the sun on your skin, the smell of dinner being cooked, or the smile of a stranger. Make this list of reflections current and relative to your own experience. If you get stuck or run out of “gratitudes” before the time is up, try not to get frustrated. Instead sit quietly in reflection and see if more come naturally. This is not a contest but a simple practice exercise. The audio below is a timer to help you keep time.
To help balance and open to a wider view on life, we turn to gratitude. To practice gratitude is to intentionally focus on and appreciate the things that give meaning to life.