To get approval, stop seeking it; to take care of yourself, take care of others. — Dr. Rick Hanson
I am practicing acquiring an attitude of gratitude in all things.
Throughout my day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I stop and give a little thanks. My goal is to link one moment to the next, to feel gratitude stirring in all things, calling me to celebrate the preciousness of each moment. And the best way I know to do that is to give thanks. To stop and say a little ‘thank-you’ to the universe as I take in all the good around me.
Moments for thanks appear everywhere, all the time.
Like, in the moment of pushing the button for the elevator and the doors open like magic! Give a little thanks.
Sometimes, the same moment may not feel or look quite so much like an opportunity to give thanks. But it is.
Imagine, you push the button for the elevator and it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for it to arrive. Rather than grow impatient, pressing the button again and again like that will make a difference, stop, take a breath and give a little thanks for that precious moment where you get to stand in the quiet, waiting outside the closed doors and have a chance to breathe.
Some of the moments where I stopped to give a little thanks yesterday included:
- The five minute wait the electronic news board told me I had before the next train. The morning air was fresh and cool against my skin. Beyond the station, traffic hummed along the roadway. Above, the sky was stretched thin and grey as dawn awakened. I looked around at the people lined up along the platform. I looked up and breathed and gave a little thanks for the precious moment of reprieve to simply get present in my day.
- Sharing a hilarious moment with a couple of co-workers in the coffee room. We laughed at what one person said that riffed into another until we had exhausted a rather bizarre and silly conversation about why women don’t need ‘balls’. Truly, we don’t.
- A co-worker giving me an apple — I’d forgotten my lunch and his apple ‘saved me’ from eating what wasn’t good for me. That small act lead to another moment of giving thanks when I couldn’t find my office keys, only to locate them later in the kitchen. In the fridge. That incident caused more laughter and what is better than laughter to lift your spirits?
- Finding a little box of Valentine’s Smarties at the bottom of my bag. Ok. That was before I ate the apple but it sure was a thrill to find those pink and red Smarties!
- Pressing SEND on a document I’d been working on for two days. Whew! And getting to laugh with the recipient of the document because it’s now off my desk and onto hers. She said thank you. I’m not quite sure she meant it, (she now has to complete her part of it) but I’m taking her at her word.
- Taking a break and going outside mid-day to walk around the block. What a gift to be able to just get up from my desk and step outside for a brief interlude. Did I mention this winter has been inordinately warm? Bonus! I only needed a light coat and no gloves or boots!
- The warm welcome and wishes of the woman at the drugstore when I dropped in to buy a lip balm. Her “I hope you’re having a terrific day,” felt so sincere. She made me smile and remember, I was having a terrific day.
My goal is to fill my day with so many moments of thanks that moments of dullness or emptiness, or simply ‘the blahs’ don’t have time to rise up and fill in the spaces between my being present in gratitude, and not being present in gratitude.
Psychologist, speaker, and author of Buddha’s Brain and many other books on gratitude, happiness and well-being, Rick Hanson, calls it, taking in the good. It’s not about just acknowledging the moment, it’s about taking it in, soaking up the feelings of wellbeing that come with noticing the goodness all around and letting the pure gold of the experience fill you up.
He explains it well in the short video below.
Hope you get a chance to watch it! And even if you don’t, I hope your day is filled with moments where all that’s on your mind is how grateful you are for what is appearing before you in the moment, right now.
Remember, this moment right now is the only one you’ve got. Why not fill it with thanks?