"You've ever thought about keeping a gratitude journal?" my mentor once asked me one evening during a dinner at his house. "It would help you. Give it a shot for a month. Keep it to say, three things each day and work your way up from there."
Begrudgingly, I gave it a shot. I was desperate for anything to fight against my anxiety and depression.
A week later, I was still in a rut. I hated writing down just three things and the act of doing it was so incredibly difficult. My three things went something like:
"1) I am thankful for...the concrete stairs.
2) I am thankful for...the sun.
3) I am thankful that I don't have class today."
Little did I know, this was completely FINE to do. Gratitude, even in the smallest of ways, goes a long way in your life as long as you continue to practice it.
It didn't make sense to me at that time, but it makes a whole lot of sense now. Looking at it from a different perspective, I realized the PRACTICE ("practice" is key here) of gratitude created a subconscious mindset of "having enough."
My one month ended but I never stopped putting in the habit of gratitude. I began reading books and scientific articles about being grateful. It turns out that the practice of gratitude will have tremendous positive effects on your day to day life.
As people, we tend to look for particular things we don't have, versus focusing on what we do have in abundance of already.
With the mindset of NOT having, we get into this depressed, anxiety-filled state that only begets unnecessary pain. Your focus is so narrow in life when you focus on the, "I don't have this" or, "I don't have that."
Instead, broaden your life with gratitude, and you'll become a happier person in life because of it.