One of the things that bears constant reminder is to be very aware of the good things in life. It seems to be a part of human biological functioning to take good things for granted, especially those good things that are a part of our day-in, day-out lives. We are so used to them that they become background noise instead of the blessings they really are.
You see, there is actually a part of our brain that is designed to screen out anything that isn’t hurtful, fearful, or of value to what we are doing, right now. A long time ago, it helped our ancestors stay alive and get ready to fight or run away.
Nowadays, this brain function may have something to do with our neglect of the good but very familiar things in our lives. This function does its work based on what is important to us, and works especially well when we set goals. However, the “everyday” things in our lives aren’t goals. They sit in the background of our awareness and we give them little notice. So, how can we combat this complacency?
Well, for one thing we can become conscious! We can stimulate our own awareness by making lists of the things we are grateful for, and by deliberately thinking about what we value and take pleasure from. In other words, we can take on the “Attitude of Gratitude.”
We can express these feelings in words, or in other ways. We can express them openly, and in the process help others to remember their own reasons for gratitude. If you feel it, show it! It is surprising how infectious an honest, heartfelt smile can be. Try it the next time you are out for a walk. Smile at those coming toward you, maybe nod your head, or give an enthusiastic “Good morning!” You just might change someone’s day.
So, what are you grateful for in your life? How do you express your gratitude, and how often do you express it? Are you taking your most important gifts for granted? If so, how could you change, and when can you do it?