We've all felt it—that moment of pure bliss when you reach a pinnacle of happiness. It pulsates through every cell, causes a ripple of goosebumps all over your body, and leaves your hairs standing on end. This sensation is the closest thing to heaven on earth, and achieving it only takes a moment—a minute, to be exact—of reflection and gratitude for your beautiful life. In fact, starting each day with a commitment to thankfulness creates a ripple effect of good vibes and positivity that will help you see the silver lining even on your worst day. It's one of the things successful people do each year, along with writing their goals and creating a vision board.
Finding that break in the clouds, however, can be challenging, especially when the world is willing you to be down, and all you want to do is turn your home into a safe haven to escape the world. But one simple way to send your happiness meter into hyperdrive is by counting your blessings and finding gratitude to remind you of the simple things in life that bring you joy. Yep, it's that easy to be happier every single day. Ahead, we outline seven things to be grateful for in 2017. Grab a pen; you'll want to write this down.
When was the last time you said thank you to your neighbor? Or called your parents, siblings, and extended family to tell them how much you care? Have you ever stopped to think about how many people you have in your support network? Whether you have family close or your friends are your family, it's important to remember all these wonderful people around you, and be thankful for their guidance, love, support, and comfort.
But this sense of gratitude should extend beyond the inner circle of family and friends and into your entire community. From your friendly landlord who drops cookies off at Christmas to your committed personal trainer who doesn't let you give up at 20 pushups, and the cleaner who polishes your home once a month with a smile on their face.
Of course, not all of these people are nice and supportive, but for the most part, we can bet that most of them are and therefore contribute to your health and personal happiness in some way, shape, or form. If you've been putting minimal effort into your relationships lately, here are a few simple ways to be a better, more caring friend.
It's often overlooked and taken for granted, but it's time you gave your body the respect it deserves. Take a look at your fingers. How often do you give thanks for these miraculous appendages that work overtime to do whatever your brain signals will them to, at any given moment?
And what about your heart? When was the last time you really paid homage to this big red organ that beats nonstop to pump oxygen-fueled blood through each vein in your body? If it's been a while, then it's time you took a moment by yourself to place your hands over your heart, and be truly thankful for both of them. It's an incredibly powerful act and why Tony Robbins made it a part of his 90-second rule (it's a great exercise for quashing anxiety too).
So make it a daily habit to give thanks for every part of your body, including your senses. Breathe in the fresh air around you, and be thankful for the skin you're in, because it's like Dr. Seuss said: "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
Yes, at first glance, this seems like a strange addition to the list of things to be thankful for, but the key to overcoming hardships is to learn from your mistakes. This is why we need to be thankful for the ones we've experienced thus far. You only have to read the career mistakes of most powerful leaders to know that it was the early errors that contributed to their later successes. The lessons you learn from overcoming failure (and how you turned that negative into a positive to propel you forward) are key to shaping the person you are today. So count them as a blessing, not a curse.
In an interview with MyDomaine, Los Angeles–based esthetician to the stars Kate Sommerville said, "a mistake is really a blessing because you learn from it." And hat designer Janessa Leone agrees. "Creatively, though, I find a lot of value in making design mistakes that can lead you to something you didn't originally intend," she told MyDomaine. "Being in tune with that and allowing a design to lead you somewhere you didn't plan is a great way to discover new ideas and ways of thinking that you didn't necessarily expect."
Whether you're a natural-born overthinker, a melancholic cynic, or a big-picture optimist, underneath it all, there's a mind to be thankful for. Each and every one of us is unique and flawed in some way or another (perfection really is overrated anyway), and we think that's something to be celebrated. It's these characteristics that make us special, and they're the platform from which we formulate our individual view of the world. Imagine the world without these diverse minds and unique characters?
Take a moment to consider how lucky you are to have this mind to help you conceive new ideas, be a creative thinker, feel empathy, know compassion, and move your body. You're capable of anything when you put your mind to it, so be thankful for it—and then try these simple exercises to keep it healthy.
If you work full-time in an office, you probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your family and friends. For this reason, many of us establish deep and valuable relationships with our colleagues, and studies have found that forming these close bonds even improves our happiness, health, and workplace performance. In fact, more than 25% of workers say discussing success with colleagues helps motivate them. Science even says eating with your co-workers improves your performance. So be thankful you have these special people around you, and if you don't have this bond with your colleagues, try these tips to create a long-lasting relationship with them—these gifts will help too.
The old adage "There's no place like home" has never rung as true as it does today. With more than 500,000 people homeless in the U.S. (and roughly 1.49 million individuals needing shelter), be thankful that you have a roof over your head and a warm bed to tuck up into each night. You can get lost in a good book in your favorite chair, enjoy much-needed alone time in your bedroom, make the new recipe you learned in the kitchen, enjoy a meal and conversation with old friends in the dining room, and kick back to a binge session of your favorite show on Netflix on your cozy sofa.
Whatever you choose to do, it's entirely up to you, because you're in the comfort of your own home and isn't that a blessing in itself? Home is our happy place, and we couldn't be more thankful for this very special space. After all, nesting is the new going out.
Your Ability to Learn
Regardless of your age or stage in your career, it's never too late to learn something new. Whether it's new cooking skills and recipes, discovering how to code, or figuring out how to manage your finances, you have the option to enroll in something new, and master a new ability. You can enhance your talent at work by signing up for online courses after-hours, develop a new proficiency by taking a class over the weekend, or expand your creative flair and start painting. The point is, be thankful for the fact you have a mind and a brain that can learn new things when you need to.
What are you thankful for? Share the things that made your gratitude list this year in the comments below.