In the era of the fast news cycle and social media, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that the world is glib and that your life isn’t good enough. Most likely, the opposite is true. It’s essential for us to always be thankful for what we have, no matter how little. Which is why we’re going to look at the top ten things all of us can appreciate. Start here:

  • Relax and take a deep breath
  • Put your mind in a happy place
  • Think of the last time that you were content
  • Push out the negative thoughts
  • Focus and read this list

A New Day

silhouette of a person during sunrise

Image via flickr

The beauty of our lives is that every day is a new opportunity. You don’t need to wait until January 1st to make a change to your life; you can start today. Before you go to sleep tonight, write down the things that you would like to change about your experience. Then, you must break them down into manageable and actionable daily changes that you can make with ease.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, take a look at your list and start doing whatever you can to make changes to your actions, which can lead to a better life and reaching your goals. No matter what you did wrong today, or yesterday, or last year, tomorrow is a new day. You don’t need to hold onto that guilt. Start over when you wake and move on with your life.

We often harbor guilt for years, even over small things like failing to accomplish the chores from the previous day. But it’s key that you enable yourself to move on. Each morning, be thankful for the day and the opportunity that it gives you to start from scratch and to reinvent yourself and fix your past mistakes.

The Ability To Think

person thinking

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As humans, we have the gift of our minds. This gift is one of the things to be thankful for today. You can look at complex problems and come up with solutions to them, which is what separates us from other animals. We can manipulate our environment and therefore to change our situation and improve our lives.

With this gift, you can give something back to the world whether it’s through helping those closest to you, or reaching out and making a larger difference across the globe. Your mind is a powerful machine, and by using it appropriately, you can have an overwhelming impact on the way that others live their lives and how we care for one another.

Your Family And Friends

Family in a park

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It’s important for us to be thankful for the friends and family that we have. It’s often only when we lose them that we truly appreciate what we had, which is why being thoughtful about what you have is critical. Every morning, promise yourself to value your friends and family and to go out of your way to form deeper connections with them when possible.

You shouldn’t look at your friends and family as tools for you to use when you need something, you are there for each other. Your relationship with them can drastically impact your mood and science shows that real connections are vital for our mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, you should do what you can to maintain strong relationships with these people.

The Opportunity Of Education

three kids reading books

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In this era, we have greater access to information than at any other point in human history. With the tap of a button, you can find answers to the most complex questions ever asked and learn from the greatest inventors and professors in the world. Truly, the internet gives us an opportunity for education that people without it would be very jealous of.

It’s our responsibility to take advantage of this, to educate ourselves as extensively as possible. This education is one of the things to be thankful for because it gives you the opportunity to improve your life and your circumstances. Plus, with free online courses, there is no excuse for you not to hone and improve your mind, as well as to learn new skills.

Platforms like YouTube, Udemy, and Facebook have plenty of free and cheap courses. You can learn everything from advanced engineering to biology and how to become a car mechanic. All of these skills are available at your fingertips, while only a generation ago it was impossible for the average person to learn about these topics.

Food And Water

vegetables salad

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Given that you are on the internet, it’s fair to assume that you have consistent access to food and water. The poorest people in the world go weeks without food and days without water. The poverty they experience is overwhelming and very often can become fatal. We should be thankful for the food and water that we have access to.

With the turn of the tap, we can have fresh drinking water, while children in other countries are forced to drink sewage. Of all the things to be thankful for today, this nutrition and life are the most important. If you can, you might consider donating a small amount to a charity like Unicef or the Red Cross, which helps those who are most in need.

Even a few dollars per day can save a life. Children in Africa and beyond can have access to drinking water, daily food and injections for the price of a coffee. Do something good today and go out of your way to donate to those who are less fortunate than yourself.

The Kindness Of Strangers

four person in a road

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On a similar topic, it’s worth remembering that the average person is incredibly kind. There are bad apples everywhere, and it can be easy to become jaded. But the truth of the matter is that most people are very kind, generous and sweet. Smile at your cashier next time you get a coffee and ask them how their day is, most likely; you’ll get a smile in return.

The kindness of strangers is a gift to all of us. It would be easy for strangers to be cruel to those who they don’t know or owe anything to, but by the nature of our biology, we go out of our way to offer warmth to others, with nothing in return. Recognize this, be thankful for it, and try to offer the same kindness and love back to those who you meet, no matter who they are.

Your Health And Wellbeing

man doing push ups while smiling

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While you might not have perfect health, most likely there are others whom you know who are struggling far worse. You should be thankful for the health that you have, and on the toughest days, you might remember that it can always be worse. Appreciate the health that you have and look to take advantage of it, by grabbing hold of the day and taking action.

Your Time In History

different pictures in history

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Likewise, by every imaginable metric, we are living in the best time in human history. Poverty is at an all-time low, by every parameter, inequality is declining rapidly, access to education has never been this high, and individual freedom is soaring. Indeed, we are blessed to have been born into this era, whereby we are more likely to prosper than previous generations.

The world isn’t perfect, and we should never stop striving to improve it, but it’s important to stop and to smell the roses occasionally. Appreciating what we have and how significantly better our lives are than our grandparents is vital to maintaining a calm head and operating effectively. Without this realization, it’s easy to become jaded and negative.

Focusing on the positive is critical. You should never ignore the tragedies in the world, but our brains hyperfocus on the negative, not the positive, which is why it’s vital for us to emphasize the good in our world. You’re lucky to exist today, not in a period of history whereby millions died in slaughters and from disease. Be thankful!

Freedom Of Religion

people inside the church

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It’s very rare, in the historical sense, that humans have been allowed to practice the religions that they believe freely. At a macro scale, there are still large parts of the world where outwardly showing your religion could lead to a brutal death. In our country, we are fortunate enough to have the freedom to practice any religion, outwardly or otherwise.

While it might seem that religious hate crimes are commonplace if you watch the news, the truth is that they are incredibly rare and far lower than even a few decades ago. Religious people live peacefully side by side, despite fundamental differences and often inflammatory texts which call for anything but this level of peace.

It’s amazing that we can do so, and to respect one another's faith. The freedom to practice religion is a fundamental right and something which we should always be thankful for. It hasn’t been this way for long, and as a people, we are lucky to live in a period when this is the case.

Freedom Of Speech

Freedom of speech written on a wall

Image via flickr

Likewise, the Constitution gives us freedom of speech. Worldwide, this isn’t universal. Dissidents experience harm in foreign nations. In the Western world, we should be thankful for our ability to speak out against those we disagree with. With this gift of speech, we can change the world for the better, without fear of injury or death.

Similarly, we should be respectful to those who say things which we disagree with, no matter how terrible or wrong we feel they are. The right of free speech doesn’t only apply to a single group; it’s a universal right to all citizens. We should be thankful for this every day because it stops the erosion of our society, which would lead to dictatorship and dominant rule.

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