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What Are You Thankful For?

person-woman-summer-girlI’ve spoken numerous times on the fact that happiness is fleeting and how it’s not something we should be striving for because it’s so momentary. I’ve talked about instead of happiness we should seek contentment through expressing gratitude.

How do we know what to express gratitude for though?

What if we can’t find it within ourselves to be thankful?

First let me tackle the issue about what to be thankful for. The key is remembering the things in your life that either make you calm, put you in a state of peace or put a smile on your face. These things can vary from person to person but I’ve found the most common ones are usually the ones we don’t think about everyday.

They could be things related to work, things like that small promotion you got at work, the recognition from your boss on a job well done, the change of position, or that raise you got that’s going to go a long way in helping you pay off your student loans.

They could also be things related to your personal network.

They could be that new friend you made at the coffee shop, that smile from the cute person you met today, the text from your mom that says she loves you or your brother’s thoughtfulness in paying for lunch the other day.

The point is, you can be grateful for anything that makes your life a little more enjoyable.

You can also be grateful for the little things that make you comfortable. Maybe it’s your warm bed, or those new sheets you got or the comfort of your couch after a long day at work. It could even just be the simple routine you have in the morning, enjoying that hot cup of coffee as you read the newspaper, or taking off your pants the moment you get home.

Any way you slice it, there are things in our lives that help us get a grip on the stressors so many of us are confronted with on a day to day basis.

It’s important to be thankful and express gratitude because we all too often overlook these things which make us happy or make us comfortable. Focusing on these things, even for just a fraction of our day can go a long way in sustaining a sense of contentment in our lives and they can even make us happy, albeit for only a moment or two but regardless, finding the things we are grateful for and being cognizant of those things and the way they make us feel can improve our daily lives significantly.

I’ve talked about how exactly to express gratitude and my favorite ways of doing that but it’s important to actually be aware of the things you are grateful for. If we proceed though our lives not being aware of the things which make us content we might as well unravel from being a ball of stress, nerves and anxiety. We’ll focus so much energy on things that aren’t going our way that we’ll make ourselves crazy.

Suffice it to say, being aware of the things that make you happy and expressing gratitude for those things can be great, it can ease stress and it can it can make us more present of the things that matter in our lives.

What Are You Thankful For?

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2016). What Are You Thankful For?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Jan 2016
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