What’s the fastest way to turn a bad day into a good one?
What’s the difference between happy people and unhappy people?
What’s the one thing that will ensure you’re always successful in life — no matter what?
One word: gratitude.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, gratitude is a superpower. Not only is it good for your mental and physical health, but it generally makes you a more pleasant person to be around. (Just think about the people you love to be with most. Probably not big complainers, right?)
Unfortunately, biology has wired us all to look for what’s wrong in life. You can blame your primitive brain for that. (It has something to do with our ancestors trying to survive in the wilderness without being eaten by lions. And tigers. And bears.)
Well, in this negatively-charged world, we’re on a mission to make things better! Instead of focusing on all the things we lack or wish were better, let’s turn the spotlight on to the good stuff.
Since we’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, we thought we’d prep you for that annual question: “What are you thankful for?”
Sure, there’s the obvious stuff. Family. Friends. Health. Chris Hemsworth’s abs. Etcetera. Those are great and all. But this year it might be fun to throw a curveball at the family dinner table and say something like, “I’m grateful for the cat lawyer video because it restored my faith in humanity.”
To help you get that gratitude ball rolling, here’s a list of totally random things to be grateful for!
*If you’re not in a better mood by the time you’re done reading this, please see the bottom of the post for further instructions. ;)
20 Totally Random Things To Be Grateful For
- Chapstick that doesn’t leave that yucky film on your lips. You may laugh, but there’s nothing funny about dry, cracked lips that are encased in a waxy coat of “lip balm” that only highlights the lack of moisture. (Actually, it is kind of funny when you think about it...) On the flipside, there’s nothing better than finding that perfect tube of delectably smooth chapstick that leaves your kisser feeling ready to pucker up. Even better when it’s about five times bigger than a normal tube of lip balm.
- Heated steering wheels. If you’re going to buy a car, safety features and fuel efficiency are great things to keep in mind. But a heated steering wheel is a true game-changer.
- Hilarious product reviews. Most of us prefer to get a little social proof that a product is worth our time and money before we buy it. But sometimes reading less-than-stellar reviews can be more rewarding than any purchase you could make. Just take a gander at Amazon’s collection of funny reviews.
- Scooping the remaining cookie dough out of the mixing bowl. They SAY you’re risking salmonella, but they’re really just trying to rob you of one of life’s greatest pleasures. Besides, the risk is part of the fun.
- Clothes you don’t have to iron. For those of us who make daily wardrobe decisions based on the level of effort required to prep each outfit, non-wrinkle clothes are a gift from the heavens.
- British accents. Brilliant, innit? Who doesn’t love listening to British accents? (That’s obviously why it’s a voice option on Apple phones.) Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, The Great British Baking Show… what would we do without them?
- When your favorite song comes on. Aw yeah, that feeling you get when “your jam” pops up on the radio or playlist. There’s nothing like it.
- Ctrl+Z. Quite possibly the best invention of all time because you can instantly erase mistakes like THAT. (*finger snapping*) If only it worked outside of your computer, too...
- The brilliant minds of Pinterest. How many years of your life have been saved by someone posting creative ideas you can snag straight off the internet? And free printables, too?? That is altruism at its finest.
- Dental floss. No, really. Not only is this great for hygiene, but did you know there are LOADS of things you can do with floss that don’t have anything to do with your teeth? You can cut food with it, tie your hair back with it, use it to stitch things up or to hang a picture… It’s like a secret, sometimes-mint-flavored weapon. Brilliant, as the Brits say.
- Neighbors who decorate for holidays. We could all be Grinching it up each year and never hang a single light or decoration for the rest of our lives. But thank goodness for people who enjoy getting into the holiday spirit and brighten up the world for the rest of us. Life would be darker without them.
- Ridiculously fluffy animals. I mean, just look at them. How can you not be instantly delighted by that?
- The fact that the CDC has a webpage dedicated to “Zombie Preparedness.” Thank goodness we will all be prepared should that fateful day finally arrive.
- Scotland’s official national animal is the unicorn. No joke. Scotland is officially the coolest country.
- Deodorant. Just imagine what life would be like without it. Do not take this for granted.
- Tears — they cure pain. Here’s a good reason to let yourself have a good cry every once in a while: it’s good for you! Research shows that tears release feel-good chemicals that relieve emotional and physical pain. Bodies are amazing.
- It’s impossible for you to do anything wrong tomorrow. ...Because tomorrow is always on its way, isn’t it? (Cue that song from “Annie”!) So next time you’ve got a big presentation or event coming up the next day, take a deep breath and confidently remind yourself, “I can’t do anything wrong tomorrow!” It’s true. You’re not lying.
- Clever license plates. It’s hard not to have a healthy appreciation for people who take the time to inject creativity into something as mundane as a license plate, right? You might find it a little easier to forgive someone for cutting you off if their license plate says, “MUAHAHA.” (This is a real life example from Bored Panda.)
- Happy older couples. Don’t we all secretly yearn for that first-10-minutes-of-Up type of love with our significant others someday? When you see an older couple happily strolling along together hand-in-hand, it’s major #couplegoals. Proof that relationships DO work.
- People. Yes, even the ones that cut you off on the freeway or kick your seat at the movie theater. Be grateful for PEOPLE. They’re messy, they’re complicated, they're hilarious, they’re unique — and they make the world an interesting place. And if you learned anything from the movie “Castaway,” they make much better companions than volleyballs named “Wilson.”
Make Your Own List!
Admit it — at least one of the things we mentioned above brought a smile to your face, right? Well, now it’s your turn. Make your own list of totally random things to be grateful for — and pay attention to your mood before and after you do it.
If you’re not at least a *touch* more cheery by the end of this activity, then GIRL, go get yourself a new outfit and try this exercise again! (Sometimes a little retail therapy can encourage a grateful heart. :))
Something magical happens when you start to look for the good things in life. Just like any other muscle in your body, your brain will get stronger and better at doing whatever you practice. The more you seek out the positive, the more you’ll find it.
So… What are you grateful for?