Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. - Eckhart Tolle

It’s easy for most of us to be so caught up, and even overwhelmed by everything we have to do in a day, and how many commitments we have. Our phones are with us all the time, waiting for the next thing to take our attention. Being continually in this state of never ending activity does not leave much time to enjoy and cherish what we have. It seems we have a difficult time just being quiet, relaxing and enjoying the moment.

Most of us seem to be naturally wired to attend to potential problems, or things we think need doing. Evolutionary psychologists have suggested the reason for this might be that those of us alive at this time are the ancestors of early people who steered clear of the wild animals or other dangers that could harm them. So they were always on the lookout for problems, big and small. Many of us still seem to do just that.

Gratitude, which is one of the ways to create greater happiness, requires a totally different type of focus. This focus is broad, and slow, sort of like looking out at the horizon and feeling part of the world in a bigger way.

One of the ways to get better at being grateful, is to keep a journal of 3 things you are grateful for each day. I took a different approach though. At dinner, when my son was small, at the table we each would say something that was good about our day. It seemed to be pretty easy. It didn’t have to be anything big. It could be the beautiful weather, something nice someone did, or a good mark at school that made that particular day better. Big and small, these chosen memories of something pleasant made a lovely break in the day.

Studies show that people’s happiness is increased by focus on gratitude. Isn’t that what most of us would like – to be just a little happier each day. Many of us have pretty good lives if only we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t.

Dianna Campbell-Smith

Dianna Campbell-Smith is a Registered Psychologist who specializes in counselling, coaching and clinical hypnosis. She runs a private psychology practice in South Calgary, and worked previously as Director of Counselling Initiatives at Calgary Counselling Center.

Dianna is a Psychology Today verified therapist.