Feeling like I have ENOUGH is an ongoing struggle for me. Which is interesting, because I do have enough. I have a wonderful family, friends, a house, husband, two beautiful babies, and the list goes on and on… But there’s a nagging voice in my head that I can’t seem to silence – the one that constantly compares my life to others’ and says “I wish I had MORE…” “I wish I had what she/he has”… “I wish I lived somewhere else” … “I wish I had a nicer house” … “I should be further ahead/more successful at this point in my life”. I envy those who are fully content with what they have, and find gratitude for even the smallest of things. My mind tends to over-focus on what I don’t have, and forgets to take notice and appreciate all that I do have right in this moment. Even though I have enough, it’s never enough.
Science shows that the happiest people are the most grateful people. There are many studies that have come out recently that show this direct relationship between giving thanks and our mental health and wellbeing. But it’s also true that “being grateful” often doesn’t just happen on it’s own – you can purposefully “practice” gratitude. Like anything – practicing yoga, learning a new language or sport – you can improve your sense of gratitude and overall happiness simply by taking a few moments each day to reflect on, and even better yet write down, things that you are grateful for. And not just general things like “family” or “friends” – but specific instances in your day where someone or something has helped you or made your life more interesting, joyful, fulfilling or comfortable.
One idea I’m trying is having a “gratitude jar”. I have it sitting in my kitchen, and write these grateful moments down on pieces of paper to add to the jar whenever I think of them. Like the sun shining after days of rain and snow, clean water to drink, or my mom helping me out with Lily while I catch up on a zillion things with my business and around the house. Another thing that I’m trying to do is to write little thank you notes directly to people I am grateful for, even if just for little things. The more I take notice, and the more I give thanks, an abundance of things to be grateful for show up in my life quite naturally and easily, and the less I dwell on the things I want or can’t control. While I’m by no means the queen of gratitude over here, I’m starting to feel like maybe enough is enough.
Do you struggle with gratitude? What helps you find thanks for the things you already have? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
from my heart to yours