It’s easy to take people and things in our lives for granted. Being grateful increases happiness. Here are some things that I am grateful for today…

  1. My dogs Walt and Jesse (see above)
  2. Having my own home
  3. Having a garden
  4. My grown up sons
  5. My husband
  6. Having enough money to be able to pay the bills
  7. Having internet access and online friends I would have never met otherwise
  8. Watching the birds on the bird feeder
  9. The stars in the sky
  10. The smell of flowers on a warm day
  11. The smell and taste of food
  12. My five senses
  13. My health
  14. My neighbourhood
  15. That belly ache feeling from laughing hard
  16. Butterflies
  17. Having three good meals a day
  18. The unwritten rule that as a dog walker you can bid another dog walker good day (strangers without dogs rarely acknowledge each other)
  19. Music that lifts me (whether it is classic, meditation, rock, etc, depending which mood I’m in)
  20. Being able to walk. And walk and walk. 

So that is twenty things I am grateful for. What’s yours? Can you name 20? At first it seems daunting but as you start thinking, you’ll be amazed how many things you normally take for granted just pop into your head.

Being Happy

Being in the present moment can help you to be happy. If you are fully present, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying of the future, then you begin to appreciate things more. You start noticing and appreciating the little things, like nature, like how lucky you are to have your friends and family, and less bothered with materialistic objects.

I’m guilty in the past of thinking things would be better when I’d move house, got more money, lost a few pounds in weight, bought various items, when I had a family, when the children started school, when the children started secondary school, when the children were grown ups. I was basically wishing my life away, instead of appreciating them in every waking moment. Life is too short and time does indeed fly. My boys are now young men, I am in middle age, and there has never been an aha moment that I’ve finally gotten to that elusive part of my life when everything was perfect and I could live as if I’d reached Nirvana.

However, I do now live mostly in the present moment. I no longer think that there are missing things in my life that would improve it. I have always looked after my health anyway so I no longer think I will be happy once I get that photoshopped celebrity look. I’ve had two boys, I have wobbly bits. Big deal.

A few years ago I had a wake up call. I was having difficulty breathing and​ put it down to my wrongly diagnosed asthma. I ended up in a&e and was told I had clots on my lungs. I was treated in hospital for a week, being reassured that everything would return to normal. It didn’t. The clots were so large on both lungs that I developed chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. 

It took a while to be taken seriously by the NHS but eventually I was diagnosed and luckily for me I was able to have an 8 hour operation that removed the clots. It took my body over a year to recover from the operation.

But what I will say is this…

It was a scary time, yes, but when you are staring death in the face, it makes you look at things differently. It makes you appreciate the little things, the birdsong, the seasons, a sunset, the sound of rain, your loved ones. It makes you realise that your life is pretty awesome. That you wake up every morning and the sun always rises. 

I can walk across my living room floor now without feeling violently ill and out of breath. In fact I can walk for miles now and I do.

Everyone who can breathe with ease takes breathing for granted. I know I did. Life’s so unfair because I don’t have that fancy kitchen/car/job/boyfriend,etc. Yes, but you have your health. 

Now every day I wake up early to walk the dogs. As I wake I smile to myself and think another day and I’m awake and alive and the sun is going to rise again. I am grateful for my body, for my health, for being able to take these two wonderful creatures out for their walk. And as I walk I breathe deeply and wonder at the air filling my lungs.