Gratitude As A Journey

I had an off day today. There were a cascade of events that really put me off; for some reason I just wasn't having a great day.

These days happen sometimes, just as they do for everyone. But today was different.

Today I was mindful.

I realized my negativity. I caught myself focusing on the "bad" and I immediately stopped what I was doing, sat down, and created a list of things I was grateful for today.

Here's my gratitude list from today:

-Having a short and early lab
-Seeing my best friend for breakfast
-The gorgeous weather outside
-Going home after lab instead of staying at my uncle's
-Looking forward to expressing my creativity by finishing my self-portrait for art class
-Almost being done with this semester (2.5 weeks!)
-Having extra free time to begin prepping for finals this week
-The fact that my physics quiz is next Friday and not this one (more time to study)
-Receiving a better grade on my last physics quiz than I expected

I genuinely felt better after making this list, but, quite honestly, it didn't completely turn my day around. I believe that is something we need to acknowledge about gratitude. Making lists, journaling, focusing on the good, meditation -- whatever it is -- doesn't always completely turn our day around. They may help lift our spirits and redirect our thinking, which are so beneficial and important, but they don't always make an impact right away. Sometimes, it takes you the entire day to feel the effects.

I did feel more positive and grateful, but my spirits weren't particularly uplifted when I put my pen down.

The point is, seeking gratitude on a daily basis isn't going to make your struggles go away. It will, though, help you overcome those obstacles much more easily.

I know for certain that if I hadn't made that list, the day would've really knocked me down. A bunch of little, insignificant things would've ruined my day, but in the back of my brain I had better things to focus on and to appreciate instead. Look, now I even got a blog post out of it! I finished my homework, I'm on track with my work, and I ended my day feeling content, which is really all I can ask for, right?

There is so much to gratitude we misconceive.  Either we fall naive to it and believe it'll keep us from facing any more obstacles or we think it's some taboo, new age trend that'll just pass in a few years.

The truth is, it's neither. Gratitude has incredible benefits and I believe, as a society, we need more of it. We must embrace it and practice it, integrating it into a part of our daily lives. But, we must also realize that it won't make us superheroes. Gratitude will make us stronger, more mindful, more aware, happier... but gratitude is not a destination. Gratitude is a constant journey which we must work on every single day. On the bad days, and the good.

What do you think?



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