November has officially become our unofficial month of gratitude. A time when everyone stops for a moment to not only recognize but appreciate all of the wonderful things in their lives and give thanks.
I’ve been trying really hard this year to not just count all my blessings once Thanksgiving rolls around, but to try and stop each day and give a silent moment of thanks for all the things I’m grateful for.
Being thankful and feeling happy are two emotions that go hand-in-hand. When we start the day off feeling stressed or upset, or when we fail to appreciate how beautiful our lives are (even in spite of negative circumstances), we don’t feel very happy, do we? But when we start the day with a grateful heart and pause to recognize even the littlest of things that bring us joy or peace, our moods instantly change.
If I’m being honest with you, it’s sometimes much easier for me to fall into that other category. Because of my anxiety, it’s not uncommon for me to get extremely overwhelmed from just a simple to-do list, which often results in my days starting off on the wrong foot. I wake up and instantly think of what needs to get done, and I freak out. I feel rushed, and annoyed, and I take it out on my guys. And I know that I’m doing it, but it’s hard to change that mindset once I’m in the thick of it.
But I watched a video earlier this year that a great friend of mine (and my unofficial Life Coach) Heather shared on Facebook, and I’ve been trying to change my behavior ever since. I haven’t been 100% perfect at it, but I feel it’s so important to make that effort; which is something I’m wanting to share with you in hopes that you’ll adopt it, too.
The video was about choosing happiness. Not just once a year, but every single day, and that in addition to being thankful for the big things in our lives, like our families and our health, we should also be thankful for the small; the everyday mundane things that are so easy to ignore and breeze over. You know – those things we often take for granted.
And aside from the small things that bring us joy, we also have to find happiness even in the things that are sometimes down right stressful. Aka silver linings. Once we’re able to find happiness in all of the things, not just the big things, that’s where our true gratitude will shine through and we’ll live a life full of contentment.
So I’ve been trying to pay more attention to the things that make me happy; the really simple occurrences that creep up in my every day life. And in doing so, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty in the simplicity, and even to take a moment and thank God for this life He has given me.
I’ve been really making an effort to pay extra attention to all the things I’m grateful for, big and small. Of course I’m grateful for my husband, my son, and our family. I’m grateful for the roof over our heads and the food in our pantry. I’m grateful for the life I’ve been given and the opportunity I’ve had to live out my dreams and my passions. I’m thankful that life currently has allowed us to be in a spot where I can work from home and be there to take care of Cooper when he’s not in school. I’m grateful for our health, especially after some scares we had last year.
But I’ve also been seeking to find gratitude in all the other things, too. And I’ve been trying to change my mindset when I start to feel like I’m being sucked down that negative rabbit hole.
Although I still have a long way to go, I’ve learned to stop and give thanks for the little things I encounter during my day..
- Like a really great cup of coffee; one that isn’t scalding hot, but just the right temperature when I take that first sip.
- The quiet walk back from school once I’ve dropped off Cooper for the day. The time of day where I’m alone with just my thoughts and the sunshine (and lately, the extremely cold air). It wakes me up, and it makes me feel alive, and there’s a certain peace to it that I’ve come to look forward to every day.
- The hustle of each day. As overwhelming as it does get sometimes, it means that I have orders to fulfill and articles that need written, and it’s a life finally spent doing what I love. And although sometimes it gets so busy that it feels like it’s too much; I know that it means something is working. And I’m thankful for that consistent and never-ending to-do list. Even if I do need to take a deep breath sometimes and walk away for a minute.
- The smell of a fall scented candle. It’s simple. But it’s cozy, and it makes me feel at home and reminds me of my favorite time of year.
- I’m thankful for the nights we cuddle up together as a family in front of the fireplace, even if it means watching football on TV or the same Henry Danger episode that we’ve seen 22 times.
- I’m even thankful for the heartaches I’ve had to endure this past year; because they taught me about resiliency and the importance of always trusting my gut.
- I’m thankful for this blog, because it has allowed a quiet girl who always tried to hide behind the crowd, to finally feel comfortable stepping forward and saying “This is me and these are my thoughts. Take ’em or leave ’em.”
There are so many reasons each and everyday to give thanks, we just sometimes have to put forth the effort to realize it and see them. Being thankful doesn’t always mean making an elaborate gesture for the big things. Instead, it can be a silent prayer of thanks for all that we’ve been given and the opportunities, both good and bad, that have come our way and taught us life lessons, given us strength to grow, and stretched our abilities.
I’ve listed out some of my big and small, now I challenge you to do the same. Feel free to comment below with some of the things you’re choosing to be grateful for today!
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.