Finding Gratitude for Things Big and Small

by | Aug 4, 2023 | Personal Development

Amazing events are happening all around us. The plants are growing, babies are being born, and new connections are being created. While we might pay attention to those big moments: graduations, weddings, births—we don’t always reflect on the day-to-day miracles. This is your reminder to pay attention, tune into your senses, and take notice of the awesomeness around you!

The Small Things: Gratitude by Numbers

A zoomed in image of a bee pollinating a yellow sunflowe.

How do you ensure you don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers? Slow down and practice being present as you take note of the wonderful world around you. As you’re smelling the flowers, go deeper. Listen to the buzzing bees that pollinate the flowers and bring nectar back to their hive. Did you know that “one out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators such as bees”? Yet, we typically don’t spend time appreciating nature’s hard work. Tune into your senses as you observe your surroundings.

54321 Method

To add a little structure to your sensory celebration, consider the “54321 Method.”

  1. Name five things you can see.
  2. Name four things you can touch.
  3. Name three things you can hear.
  4. Name two things you can smell.
  5. Name one thing you can taste.

In order to start and end your day feeling grounded, incorporate this exercise into your morning and evening routine. Strive to bring this level of awareness to several moments throughout your day.

345 Breathing

Another small moment you can feel grateful for is the ability to breathe, without even having to think about it. It’s incredible that our bodies just go right along inhaling oxygen without our input. Try fully filling your lungs with each inhale before slowly letting your breath go. Allow your ribcage to expand as you count to three, hold your breath in your chest for four counts, and then exhale for five counts. Notice the calm that washes over you when you incorporate this 3-4-5 breathing technique whenever you’re feeling rushed.

The BIG Moments

In addition to all of the sensational small things happening around us, we have big blessings to be thankful for, too. If you’re currently reading this from a climate-controlled environment, be grateful for that. In the case that you have a roof over your head when it rains, be thankful. If you have food to eat each day, feel appreciative of this privilege. We live in a world with an incredible number of opportunities and reasons to feel grateful, daily.

Your friendships.

Have you ever had a friend call you right when you needed to hear a comforting voice or send you a “thinking of you card” just when you thought nobody cared? These amazing reminders of community shouldn’t be overlooked. Remember to call, and send texts, letters, and reminders out into the world, as well. Our ability to connect with others is a precious gift. 

Your opportunities.

Every day, we’re presented with options and opportunities to make decisions that will help us grow, learn, and bring us closer to our goals. Be grateful for all of the chances you have to develop new skills and to take chances, even when they feel risky.

Fostering a spirit of gratitude helps us become better, healthier, and more content as people. (Look here for more reasons why gratitude matters). It will improve our relationships and allow us to live in the present. We get that some days are especially tough, and it can feel like nothing’s going your way. But the more attention we give to gratitude, the more appreciation we’ll feel for the life we live.

Developing gratitude requires reflection. Use your alone time to think about what you’re thankful for and what you appreciate. Learn more about the benefits of alone time here.