Embrace Simple Pleasures
We’re all guilty at one time or another of having those thoughts that “If I had _____, I’d be happy” or “I must not be successful because I don’t ______” or even “It’s not fair she has, ______ and I don’t. Surely I deserve it more.” Unfortunately, it is part of the human nature we’ve picked up as an extremely bad habit. And this time of year, it can be particularly brutal, especially as we step into the Resolution Season.
In Buddhism, this feeling of wanting, desiring or “needing” something we do not have causes suffering, an innate part of the human condition. However, you don’t need to be Buddhist to know how crappy you feel sulking or pining over something you do not have that another might. And you certainly have the capacity to change it, no matter what philosophy you subscribe to.
What we do all have in common in our lives are the simple pleasures. Yours might be a morning run at dawn. A friend’s might be getting a larger coffee for free one morning. While mine can simply be a bike trip through the city that doesn’t involving swerving to miss an opening car door. These little things may or may not consciously noted as something awesome that happened to me today, but by observing and even documenting the small joys can lead to a more grateful life.
Journaling and reflecting on five positive things (or even just one thing) that happened through the course of the day is often the first step in generating a gratitude-filled life. And by journaling, that can be writing in gorgeous hand-pressed notebook, or simply tweeting it out in 140 characters. Or maybe it’s easier for you to just silently list them in your head as you lie in bed at night.
The practice is not meant for you to go out and look for HUGE, LIFE-CHANGING, MEMOIR-WORTHY events. It’s about looking for the simplest, seemingly insignificant things that are truly a joy in an otherwise “normal” day. They can be moments of life you, or others, may take for granted like getting to work early for once. Or having a great workout. Or enjoying a late dinner with a friend or loved one. Or even just a nice smile from a good-looking stranger.
What happens over time when we hone in on these little treasures, is we learn to recognize all of the happiness around us and in our lives. We may start to marvel over a gloriously clear blue sky. We begin to feel blessed to simply enjoy the first warm day of Spring. We remind ourselves how much good we do have, even if it isn’t tangible and doesn’t come with a price tag. We start learning success and worth aren’t defined by what we own; that we actually have exactly what we truly need.
In the long run become more grateful individuals and a heck of a lot more at peace with our world.
So I encourage you to think about five good things that happened to you today, or that made you happy. If it has been a particularly bad day, try to at least think of one. There is always one, believe me. Even if it simply is, I got out of bed and lived another day.
We look forward to hearing on Facebook some of yours. Maybe you can even encourage friends on Facebook to share on their own timelines what makes them grateful today, too.