“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response” – Mildred Barthel
Some of us seem to be naturally positive people who wake with smiles on our faces, I’m not one of them. I have to start my day with a grateful list to positively charge my attitude in my quest for a merrier disposition. Even more so this time of year when the holidays can be a challenging time for many of us.
Years ago I was given the direction to list at least ten things I was grateful for each morning. As much as I grumbled, resented, and doubted it’s effectiveness at first, I eventually started seeing the world through an entirely new perspective. My circumstances had not changed much, but for the first time in my life I was in control of my own happiness – something all the riches in the world couldn’t buy, and believe me I’d already tried that route too.
Since Thanksgiving is suppose to be a day of thanks, I tried something new this year and posted my grateful list for the day aloud on my Facebook wall. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much it amplified my mood even further! This is how it read:
Giving Thanks: My daughter will be here within the week, having turkey with my cousins, Dad’s upcoming 80th birthday with our whole family, the last fabulous celebration of the same birthday (he knows how to milk it), reconnecting with so many long lost friends, my PCA backers, my new web developer (who is patient and kind), Daisy for being a constant source of cuddles and giggles, the PCA members and TRS clients who’ve made me feel truly appreciated this year, and NINE AND A HALF HOURS OF SLEEP LAST NIGHT (a miracle and it’s not even Xmas yet), and all of you, of course!
Okay, so you may think – “well she has SO much to be grateful for, much more than I do,” or at least that is how I felt when I started this. My whole world (as I knew it) had come crashing down around me. Nothing was how I’d planned or wanted my life to be. I couldn’t think of one thing to be grateful for, so a friend said, “Do you like sunshine?”
“Yes'” I replied.
“Well put the sun is shining on your list.”
Thankfully, I did eventually get out of my own way, because life today is a gazillion times better than anything I had dared to dream when left to my own devices. We’re in such a hurry these days we overlook so many of the things that should delight our souls, so “stop to smell the roses!” I promise, if you start with baby steps and strip it back to those small, simple basics to begin with, that list (and your happiness) will grow. Not only will you be in a much better mindset to tackle the day, you’ll already be perpetuating more happiness and good fortune.
Keith Haring Gingerbread Art
Of course, if the grateful list isn’t quite enough to make you feel jolly, you could always try throwing on some Bing Cosby and do a little baking! Tatjana and I made these gingerbread cookies a few years ago to honor an old friend.