I will probably do my Top 5 things I'm grateful for but I wanted to review reasons why it's so important to be grateful.
I don't think these are in order of importance just what I have observed.
1. You don't take small things for granted.
Yesterday while hanging my laundry out on the line (I have been resisting but couldn't wait anymore because *ahem* we were running out of underclothing) I realized that my biggest hurdle with the laundry right now is that I hate hanging it up. I don't have enough room on the line, I have to shake out every piece, yada yada yada.
Then I remembered something I'd seen on Facebook (a quote, but finding the "real" source is problematic-haha) about not having a problem with your attitude but your attitude being the problem. I realized then that I needed to be grateful that I had so many clothes they didn't fit on the line and also that I had a washer. I have been feeling entitled to a dryer and really, it's a modern-day luxury. Yes, most people have them in the United States but not in the rest of the world. Even in Japan we hung our laundry out to dry, we did not go to a laundromat (they have adorable Barbie-doll washers!). I have a big family and we make a lot of laundry. I changed my attitude and it wasn't so bad. Really! Even I was surprised.
2. You are more willing to share or even give away what you have to others.
When you feel like you have an abundant life no matter how little you have it is easier to share. The sin with money is not the having of it but the hoarding of it. Loving money more than others. That's the real sin. I remember a time when I would buy books and give books away and think nothing of it, now I cherish them. I still give them away but I rarely, I mean RARELY ever buy a book new. I will buy some new books (from authors I know, or authors I love) but not very often. I have to say that started with my spending fast. Which was probably one of the single most enlightening experiences I had with money and "stuff." I still give books away but since I get so many in eBook form that doesn't happen as often. I am constantly filtering our book collection and for an avid reader like me it's kind of surprising how few books we have. I know, however, and I believe in reciprocity. Flylady teaches that if you make room for things then things will come to you. I believe that. I've seen it happen. So I give it away (I do not do garage sales) rather than hoard or try to sell.
3. You see blessings in everything around you.
I have said before that I don't believe in Luck. I believe in blessings. I think things will come to us as we need them, as we make room for them. In spite of that, however, you can see the good even in the worst situations. It's a "glass half full or half empty" perspective. There have been days in my life when all I was grateful for was the thoughtfulness of a friend or the kindness of a stranger, because I wasn't grateful for the sun rising or the tangible things of the world because I didn't want to be here. Sometimes in the lowest point of despair, which can be caused by grief or depression, the only things you can be grateful for are the laughter of children or the smiles of people who are trying to help. The more you look for the good, the more good you will find even in your darkest moments. Because it is a habit.
4. You will be a blessing to others.
Sometimes when you show random gratitude for something you can cheer another person up. I know I have been cheered by those things. Sometimes it can be annoying to be around a perpetually cheerful person but when you share heart to heart true gratitude you both are only uplifted. I know this is true. I have felt it and lived it. I am always surprised when someone tells me something I've said or written or even just lived (because that's who I am) has affected them in a positive way. Sometimes I am even shocked by such a confession. I don't believe many of us are aware of the influence we are on others. Being grateful for the simple things in your life will just make you easier to be around. Who wants to be around a perpetual whiner? (Although I can do that too! Heaven knows!)
5. Gratitude brings peace to your soul.
Even if you don't believe in a God you can receive peace in your heart from being grateful for what you have in your life. It might be laced with pride (which is not such a great thing) but it should mostly come from a place of recognition; I have this and this and it is good. My children are healthy, my husband has a job, I am able to function enough today to actually make the bed. I am so grateful!
I don't really want to talk about what not having gratitude will do but suffice it to say in some cases, it will do the opposite of these five and further. Lack of gratitude can make you embittered and blind to the good around you. If you can, at least take a moment to admire the things in the earth. Nature provides us with so many opportunities for gratitude. If you live in the city, find a park. If you live in the country; there is an abundance of beauty! (I think but I prefer the country.) Maybe you like the image of tall buildings, I know I do (doesn't mean I want to live there, but it is spectacular to look at). Even if you don't acknowledge a supreme creator there is still plenty to find. Look at the moon and the stars; look at the ocean or a lake. Watch a good, thought-provoking movie.
There is so much to be grateful for, I hope you can find yours.