Gratitude multiplies itself. The more you appreciate the more you have to appreciate. Stopping to evaluate what you are really grateful for brings more things to mind that you are grateful for.
I have been reading a series of books based on diaries and journals of some of my ancestors. Even though there are challenges in my life, they seem very minor when I read about my ancestors. Some had their homes burned. Some were driven from their homes. Some had to leave in the middle of winter without proper supplies. Sometimes they were driven out just as they were ready to harvest a crop. One family had their milk cow shot eliminating a major food source for their family. Illness like malaria and tuberculous were constant concerns. Having enough wood to heat their homes was a big concern. Having enough food to eat frequently was a problem. Traveling meant walking for miles or riding in an uncomfortable wagon.
Sometimes I have had to walk because my car wasn't working, but my town is only about one square mile so it didn't take too long to walk where I needed to go. The heater stopped working on my car and the windows stopped going up and down at the same time in the winter. It was cold, but it only took a few minutes to drive where I needed to go. For longer trips, I have had friends or family members offer me rides. I have coats, sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves to keep me warm. In my home, I have heaters in each room that turn on with a turn of the knob on the thermostat. I also have a fireplace if electricity isn't available. I have running water in my home and water heaters so I can have warm water. I have a bathroom inside my home, not an outhouse a ways from my home. I just turn a knob and my stove turns on so I can cook my dinner. I have plenty of food in my cupboards and refrigerator. The refrigerator keeps my food at a good temperature so it lasts longer. I have a computer that I can get the news from, communicate with my family and friends with, learn things from, and enjoy entertainment on. I have furniture to sit on, a bed to sleep on, and photographs and paintings on my walls. I have plenty of clothes. I have a washing machine to clean my clothes. This paragraph is running pretty long, and I haven't even mentioned friends and family yet.
Being grateful helps us feel real joy in our lives. Remembering the things we are grateful for helps us to be happier. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." Even the difficult things in our lives contribute to our advancement, so we should be grateful for everything. You may come to a fork in the road and have to choose which way to go. If you find the road you have chosen is a dead end, you can still be grateful because now you know that it is not the road to take. We can always be grateful for what we have learned through the difficulties we go through. Being grateful can make a big difference in our lives.
Surrounding ourselves with things that remind us to be grateful is a good thing to do. Writing in a gratitude journal regularly would be a good way to increase our gratitude. Keeping photos of things we are grateful for like family and friends in open view is a reminder of the happiness they bring into our lives. You may want to consider some of these ways to bring more gratitude into your life.