Gratitude is a hack.
It might be the greatest lifehack known to man.
The simple act of writing down, or saying, or thinking about the things for which I am grateful improves my happiness. Studies have shown this to be true. There really is power in positive thinking.
Which is probably why Thanksgiving is everyone’s favorite holiday.
That, and also the food.
I privately try to be grateful each and every day. But today–in the spirit of this wonderful event–I’m going to do it publicly.
First and foremost, I’m grateful for my health. Gratitude works best when its specific, so let me break down what I mean by health.
There is physical health. I’m grateful that I was fit enough to hike the Inca ruins in Peru. And that I had the strength, balance, and coordination–not to mention great teaching–to stand up on a surfboard for the first time in my life. Now that I’m home, I’m grateful for the Simple and Sinister kettlebell program so that I can build a foundation of strength to keep me active and moving well in my future.
Next comes mental health. I’m grateful to have work that challenges me beyond my current abilities. I’m forced to learn new things every day, which develops my mind and skills. I’m grateful to have a library card, which is like free access to the minds of the smartest people to come before me. Each book contains lessons waiting to be learned.
Then there is spiritual health. I don’t mean religion, though it certainly could mean that. To me, it’s about being emotionally strong, which comes not just from within, but from the support of others. I’m grateful to my parents, for not disowning me when I told them I was fleeing to South America. And to my friends, who understood and accepted my choice, even if it meant missing a wedding. I’m grateful for the continued success and well-being of every one of them.
As a guest to this year’s festivities, I must be a gracious guest. This means not overstepping my boundaries and trying to be a host. I made offers to help where I can. This gave the hosts the opportunity to decline, to emphasize, “We got this.” As guest, it is my duty to show them respect and not insist upon the point. To insist would suggest I somehow doubt their ability to handle the duties of hosting. Instead, allow them the satisfaction of successfully taking care of everything. And when it is finished, I will be grateful for the hospitality.
I’m grateful for experiences. Good or bad, they are all opportunities to develop a new skill–or deploy an existing one. In that sense, I’m almost more grateful for the bad. It’s easier to learn and grow from doing something wrong.
My last points are getting vague. I need more practice at this gratitude thing.
Thank you for reading.