I didn’t even have to think too hard about what I would choose for the letter G, because it sits in my heart.
Being grateful is automatically a mindfulness practice as it involves appreciating every little thing. Gratitude is the direct route to happiness, as anyone who practices it will affirm.
Today, I am thrilled to roll out the Red Carpet for Laura Tong of PositivelyHappy.me (formerly enjoylifeslowly.com) with a guest post.
I met Laura and Mark a few weeks ago when they were lovingly invited me, asking if I would do an interview with them for their interview series about rewriting the rules in your life to be happier and more positive. Here’s the whole series. I had such a delightful time talking to Laura and Mark that we had no idea that we’d overshot the 30 minutes we had scheduled until it was almost an hour!
How true it is that when we meet some people, it is as though our souls met!
I am deeply grateful to Laura for gracing us with her presence here today with a beautiful post on how to stop taking everything for granted and explode your happiness – because gratitude rocks!
How to Stop Taking Everything For Granted
and Explode Your Happiness
By Laura Tong
Can I tell you a little something about my parents?
I’ll be quick, I promise.
You see they did a great job of bringing my sister and I up to be the politest of polite kids, the two little girls that were always welcome, anywhere. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ could honestly have been our middle names.
And, looking back, I can see that politeness and good manners have got me a long way in life.
But to my mind, without being in any way disrespectful, my parents didn’t quite get it all right.
You see, in their desire to help us grow up liked and ever-welcome, they taught me that ‘thank you’ is something you must always say. The emphasis was on ‘always say’ not ‘always mean’.
So I learned to say ‘thank you’ almost by rote. I never used the word ‘grateful’, because I never heard the adults use it.
It took me years to realize that whilst invariably I was thankful for the presents I received – the toy kitchen, the pogo stick and trampoline from Trampolinea, the pack of felt pens – what I was really grateful for was the love they’d put into choosing the gift itself.
And when I stopped taking everything for granted, I exploded my happiness.
Now, when I say’ thank you’, I mean it, wholeheartedly. I’m really saying my life is better because of this wonderful blessing.
My childhood ‘thank yous’ really need to be re-said. Gosh, that’s going to be a lot of letters to write!
To me, being grateful is a holding a genuine deep-down appreciation for something. And that appreciation is a feeling that makes me feel bright, very lucky and oh-so happy.
So here’s a short list of just some of the things I’m truly grateful for – the full list would take me forever because I find new things every day.
Come and explode your own happiness by recognizing your own priceless blessings…
90 Things I’m Blissfully Grateful For…
- The birds outside my breakfast window – for filling my mornings with sweet songs and incredible beauty.
- The smallest of gifts – for the love that’s really under the wrapping paper.
- My healthy mind and body – for letting me go at life with gusto.
- Aches and pains – for warning me to stop going at life with quite so much gusto before I damage something.
- My short little legs – for allowing me to dance (if a little unfashionably) with abandon.
- My sturdy arms – for helping me up when I trip. And for giving and receiving hugs.
- My lap – for anything that needs loving to come and sit a while.
- My lifelong friends – for picking me up when I fall down and for hugging my breath away every time we meet.
- My local community – for knowing I belong somewhere.
- The hole in my shoe – for giving me an excuse to buy a lovely new pair.
- Other’s opinion – (even if they don’t agree with mine) – for stopping me stagnating in my own little mindset and realizing that I may not always be right.
- The word sorry – for allowing me the chance to put right a wrong.
- Traffic jams – so I can have an excuse to listen to the radio and sing along without any one hearing.
- My darling, hairy husband – for being wonderfully silly, loving, kind, thoughtful and my absolute best friend.
- Such neighborly neighbors – for making it impossible for me to think of moving from my oh-so friendly neighborhood.
- The neighbors’ children next door – for their infectious giggles and excited chatter.
- Strangers – for being friends in waiting.
- The summer sunshine – for kissing my face after all those dark winter days.
- All the colors of Nature – for painting the world in a rainbow of loveliness.
- Money in my purse – not for itself, but for all the essentials it allows me to buy.
- Love, delicious love – for making me feel whole again.
- My forehead wrinkles – to remind me that I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of sunshine in my life.
- A friendly smile – for being a universal language that makes you feel instantly at home no matter where you are.
- Eager dogs pawing at the door – for showing me even if it’s raining, there’s fun to be had outside.
- Hot water bottles – for soothing tweaked muscles without needing painkillers.
- Painkillers in my cupboard– for when hot water bottles aren’t enough.
- A Mug of coffee – for giving me the ability to form sentences first thing in the morning.
- The dinner table – for the perfect place to share quality time swapping the day’s stories with my husband, friends or family.
- Never-ending curiosity – for all the wonderful paths it leads me down.
- Practical jokes – for stopping me taking myself too seriously.
- Belly laughter – for reminding me the sun always shines again.
- Unessential housework – for giving me something I can put off until
- Common languages – for the opportunity to learn from wonderful people who live in different parts of the world to me but speak the same language.
- Cherished memories – for allowing me to enjoy the wonderful moments in life over and over.
- Unexpected change – for keeping me on my toes and letting me become robust enough to cope with whatever bumps into my life.
- Comedy movies – for the chance to escape into another world and recharge my batteries after a busy week.
- Pop, dance and jazz music – for providing a wonderful soundtrack to this wonderful life. I couldn’t write without it.
- Society – for making it not only safe but pleasurable to be out and about.
- Every flavor of pie – for the pastry kingdom of deliciousness I just can’t resist.
- Fruity red wine – for the glass of pure sunshine I can share with friends.
- My comfy bed – for the luxury, warmth and security of a restful night’s sleep.
- The inventors of the Internet – for the opportunities to connect with wonderful people like you.
- Beautiful pens and colored paper – for the irrational joy they bring me.
- My green rain boots – for letting me childishly splash through puddles.
- My garden haven – for a beautiful green space to play, eat and indulge my passion for nature in.
- Glitz and glamor – for the shine they bring to the every day.
- Genuine empathy – for the connection it brings with others and the bond that follows.
- A kind heart – so I can translate that empathy into action.
- Recognition from others – for the way it gently buffs my ego.
- A Glass of refreshing tap water – for tasting so good and keeping me alive.
- Childish fun – for taking the routine out of any task.
- My tiny size 3 feet – for my uncommon size in shoes always being the one left in stock in a sale.
- Difficult life choices – for the chance to get good at making decisions that are right for me.
- Stripy bumble bees – for the joy of watching them fill their furry pockets with pollen while pollinating my flowers.
- My little hatchback car – for the 70,000 miles it has trundled me around Europe despite being 23 years old.
- My fleecy pajamas (OK, I confess, they’ve got sheep on) – for making every evening relaxing, comfortable and fun.
- Hardworking farmers – for all the tasty carrots, potatoes, garlic, lentils, corn and a thousand other yummy, nutritious foods I enjoy every day.
- My lusty singing voice – for the way it clears my lungs and fills my head with happiness (although I’m not sure everyone who hears me feels the same).
- The colors each season brings – for their beautiful variety and the chance to look forward to a new phase in the year.
- Untidy chaos – for reminding my perfectionist streak to let go and stop worrying about things I can’t control.
- Silly viral videos – for all the giggles I’ve had over skateboarding dogs, mischievous raccoons and pandas sneezing.
- Children’s charities (and every other kind) – for the opportunities to help others and feel good that I have.
- Our helpful garbage men – for willingly dealing with my trash so that I don’t have to.
- True romance – for making my marriage a real life fairy tale.
- My gorgeous Labrador dog, Ruggers – for giving me nothing but love and fun for 15 whole years.
- Swimming lessons at school – for allowing me to take boat rides without worrying about drowning if we capsize (silly I know, but it’s amazing what goes through your mind).
- Underwear – for keeping me respectable when I trip in the street.
- Acres of leafy trees – for making my drive to work so beautiful every morning.
- My trusty mountain bike – for toning my bottom somewhat.
- My kaleidoscopic of acrylic paints – for letting me color my imagination onto canvas.
- More books than I can ever read – for the incredible things I learn.
- Glorious sunshine – I know this is the second time I’m grateful, but I’m from the UK and I’m doubly grateful every time the sun peeks out.
- My potting shed – for keeping all the seedlings warm until it’s time for the pleasure of planting them out.
- Big, wet raindrops – for all the wonderful life the rain brings.
- Independent travel – for allowing me to experience first-hand, just how awesomely kind people are the world over.
- My rewarding job – for giving me the chance to spend all day around children or ‘little sunshines on legs’ – I work in an elementary school.
- My next birthday – for the reminder that I’ll have had the privilege to live another year on this amazing planet. And being in August, for it being in the school summer holidays!
- My fabulous eyesight – so I can see just how much in the world I have to be grateful for.
- My sharp ears – So I can hear myself grumbling and remind myself to stop.
- The voice of my conscience – for making sure I don’t say or do the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.
- Heartfelt compliments – for the chance to make people feel genuinely good about themselves.
- Ants and elephants – for reminding me you can make an impact in the world whatever you’re size.
- Breath – I use to have an inhaler when I was a kid and be stuck inside on the couch for days at a time. Now I love filling my lungs with mountains of fresh air.
- Waking up this morning- for having the chance of another day to make a positive difference in my life and in others.
- My parents – for starting me out on the road to gratitude that I’m still on.
- Good news – for the reminder that life is overwhelmingly good.
- A million acts of kindness performed by ordinary people around the world every day– for making this spinning planet a wondrous place to be every single minute.
- Hearts big enough to forgive – so I can mess up and still have somewhere to go for the holidays.
- Gratitude itself – for allowing me to find more blessings in my life every day.
- You – for taking the time to stop by and read this…
By realizing there is always something to be genuinely thankful for, I’ve stopped taking everything for granted. And this has given me an enormous sense of wellbeing and optimism for the future:
- If my health deteriorates, I’ll have love to care for me.
- If my home disappears into a black hole, I’ll have friends to pull me out and help rebuild it.
- If my life smacks into abrupt change, I’ll have experience and creativity to help me adapt.
- If my day is filled with negative chatter and news, I’ll have the beautiful garden birds to transport me back to blissful positivity.
I’m so thankful I found it.
I wish you a lifetime of delighting in every possible thing you can be thankful for and the happy heart you’ll have in exchange.
Now explode your own happiness – If there’s anything you’re grateful for I’ve missed in the list above, write it down in the comments below and share your gratitude with the world.
Thank you for reading.
Laura Tong, a former health professional, is on a mission to help you become the most positive, assertive and happy version of yourself. Grab her latest book The Life-Changing Power of NO!: How To Stop Trying To Please Everyone, Start Standing Up For Yourself, And Say No Without Guilt Or Conflict (Even To Difficult People)
What are you grateful for, today? ♥