I discussed this topic in my classes this week, and I wanted to share the following quote from the book, The More of Less by Joshua Becker. His documentary comes out on Netflix on Thursday, and you can bet I'll be watching :)
"Gratitude is a possibility for all of us. It is a choice we can make every day regardless of our circumstances.
Realistically, however, I know there are some seasons when gratitude can be easier. When your home is warm, when you are eating a delicious meal, when your child's report card is impressive, when everything is lining up as you envisioned, it is easy to be thankful. But at other times gratitude appears elusive. When the storms of life hit thankfulness doesn't come quite so quickly. And yet those are the days when we need it most because that's when its strength, optimism, and perspective carry us through.
Consequently, gratitude is more valuable to us as an intentional habit than as a spontaneous response. And so it's a good thing that gratitude is an attitude we can cultivate through attention and discipline. It requires practice when it's easy and even more practice when it's difficult. The more we train ourselves to that end, the more we are able to access it when we need it...
Gratitude is a discipline, not an emotion. Work hard to develop this habit in your life. Consider these helpful thoughts to spur yourself on in this new discipline of the heart:
- Look for simple joys and be thankful for them.
- Reflect on the good things in your past (particularly if your current season of life is a stormy one).
- Find a few minutes in your day to record your gratitude in a journal.
- Express thankfulness during life's little inconveniences (sitting at red lights, waiting in line, and so on).
Gratitude helps us better understand our place in the world. It pushes our praise to those who deserve it. It causes us to focus on the good things we have, regardless of our present circumstances. It improves our well-being in almost every regard. As a result, it is a sure pathway to contentment."
Again, check out The More of Less by Joshua Becker if you're interested in minimalism.