Gratitude may be one of the most powerful emotional forces we have. It pulls you from worrying about past, fretting about the future, and centers you in the here and now. It’s the antidote to fear, anxiety and anger. Taking a few minutes each day to feel grateful can shift your entire life towards more joy and abundance.
These days, it’s so easy to feel lacking. We’re constantly bombarded with messages that we aren’t enough and don’t have enough. Advertising messages fill our day telling us we need X, Y and Z material objects to be happy and fulfilled. To be the kind of person we should be. We don’t have what we need, they tell us, so keep buying to get there. This messaging is designed to instill a sense of scarcity.
It’s easy to get caught up in this kind of scarcity mentality, of feeling like we aren’t enough or don’t have enough. It causes us to worry about the future and get stuck in the past, fretting over how to change things that happened long ago.
Gratitude is the antidote to all that. When you’re feeling grateful, it’s impossible to feel fearful, angry or depressed at the same time. No, really, it’s impossible. Try it. Think deeply of a few things you’re grateful for in your life. Maybe it’s your warm bed, your family, or the dog curled up next to you on the couch. Really ponder those things and feel intensely grateful for them.
Now, try to feel angry or sad at the exact same time as you’re feeling this wellspring of gratitude. Couldn’t do it, could you?
When you feel grateful, you reclaim the sense of abundance in your life. You focus on all the things you have in your life, rather than what you don’t, and this focus in turn breeds even more joy and satisfaction.
Taking just five to ten minutes each day to feel grateful expands your sense of wellbeing and the possibilities of life. It centers you in the present as you take stock of all the goodness in your life in this exact moment.
Need help finding things to be grateful for? Just look to your dog. Your dog knows there are hundreds of moments a day to be grateful and give thanks for. Here are a few things our dogs teach us to be grateful for every day:
When you wake up in the morning, what is your dog’s reaction? My guess is that they wake up with their tail wagging, grateful for another morning with you and whatever lies ahead. Every day is a new opportunity, be grateful you opened your eyes.
Food on the table
Every time food appears in your dog’s bowl, they act as if it is a new and miraculous event. Their gratitude never fails, usually in the form of happy dances and drool. Be grateful every day you have food on the table. Happy dances are optional, but recommended.
Whether they are going on an adventure to a brand new location or just being let outside for their morning romp, dogs have no problem showing us their appreciation of time spent outside. Maybe you can’t head out on a long backcountry excursion to the mountains right now, but if you have any space to sit outside and feel the sun, smile and feel grateful.
Our dogs know that there are a million and one things to be grateful for every day. When you take the time to slow down and focus on them, little things like a soft place to sleep, good food, people you love and a bone to chew on can create a never ending fountain of gratitude and abundance in your life.