This article could actually be captured in one short conclusion: Life is simply nicer when you embrace it with gratitude.
Over the past half year, I have started to consciously practice gratitude in daily life. For the first two months or so, I used guided meditation to help me out. Every night before going to bed, I would listen to the audio file and think of whatever things had made me feel grateful during that day. After a while, this seeped into my entire day. I became more aware of the things that deserve some gratitude as they happened. At that time, I stopped listening to the guided meditation. My gratitude practice had become part of daily life.
Some thoughts about gratitude that came up during this time of practice:
1. You can learn to be grateful
Gratitude is not just a feeling, it is a skill. You need to practice gratitude in order for it to become easier to recognize and experience the feeling.
2. It takes mindfulness
Mindfulness is needed to recognize the small things in life. Like hearing the soft hum of a bee, as I was sitting on my balcony in the early summer sun and watching the bee explore my flower pots. After noticing this experience, I felt grateful for it.
3. Gratitude leads to contentment
Over time, you can feel satisfied with less. As you become more grateful for the small things through practice and mindfulness, it becomes obvious that you do not need more than that. The eager pursuit of happiness makes way for being content with that which is there in the moment.