5 Small Things To Be Grateful For, Even When Life Is Getting You Down

Photo: Getty
5 Small Things To Be Grateful For

Ever since my sister had an emergency appendectomy, I spent most of my time since then with her in Connecticut.

My sister has two teenage boys, two dogs, a coop full of chickens, a husband, and a preschool to run. She cannot drive or lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for two weeks. So here I am... being her.

That I can do this, take some time off from my life in NYC to help her out, makes me feel very grateful. I'm grateful that I have the kind of career that allows me flexibility with where and when I work. If I couldn’t be here, my sister’s illness would have had a far greater impact on her family so I know she is grateful as well.

These past weeks have got me thinking about all of the things that I am grateful for in this world. There are many things — big and small — that I so appreciate. Life can be challenging and if it wasn’t for the little things, it would at times seem unbearable. 

Here are 5 small things that you and I should be grateful for even when life gets us down:

1. Comfort food


We all have it. That certain something that we love to eat. That something that we fantasize about if the day is going very badly.

For me, it’s Thai food. Whenever I'm having a bad day, I promise myself that at the end of the day, some Pad Thai will be part of my evening. The prospect actually calms me down immediately and lifts my spirits.

And of course, the chocolate pudding that I eat for dessert doesn’t hurt either.

And for that I am grateful.

2. Smiles

Think about that morning when everything went wrong. You woke up late, there was no hot water, your coffee was cold, and you had nothing to wear. Really, your day was going to suck.

And then you take the elevator down to the lobby and walk out onto the street with your sunglasses on, prepared to fight the world. You round the corner and almost run into a complete stranger, a complete stranger who smiles broadly and says "Good morning". Reflexively, you smile back.

It changes your whole day.

The actual act of smiling, the use of the muscles to turn your mouth upwards, has been proven to lift your mood. I know that when my kids were little and I was feeling overwhelmed, just smiling at them made me feel better.

And for that I am grateful.

3. The sun and the moon


Imagine the world without the sun. Imagine not being able to turn your face up to it and immediately feel warm. Imagine a world without flowers or grass or hummingbirds. Imagine a world where it's always dark. How lucky are we that have the sun and all the warmth and beauty it brings?

And then there’s the moon. There is nothing like looking up at the night sky and seeing that brilliant light shining down, the orb passing through its nightly phases, to truly strike awe. When it’s full, it can turn the night into a magical daytime. When it’s new, the world feels safe, held close by the darkness.

When I look at the moon each night, I know that those I love who aren’t next to me can see that same moon and it makes the world just a little smaller and the love a little brighter.

And for that I am grateful.

4. Hot water

This is one thing that I never ever think about until it’s not there. And when it’s not there, I definitely notice.

Think about that shower that you took this morning. Was it almost as important to you as that coffee (made with hot water) that you drank right afterward? How about that bathtub you are going to sink into tonight? To soak your weary bones and have a few moments of peace. Lovely.

Hot water keeps our clothes and dishes clean, heats our homes, cooks our pasta and dissolves our sugar. Without hot water, our life would be a much different place.

And for me, I get that cup of tea at the end of the day that warms me to my toes... right before I take my bath.

And for that I am grateful.

5. My bed


Really, is there anything better in the whole world than one’s bed?

A bed with soft sheets and the perfect number of pillows and that cozy comforter on a cool night. Heaven.

It’s a place where you can take refuge at the end of an endless day, a place to curl up with your kids, a place where you get to read that fantastic book you fall asleep to every night, a place where you can talk quietly with the one you love, among other things.

No matter how crazy, jam-packed and exhausting my life is, at the end of every day, I have my bed.

And for that I am grateful.

So there you go. The small things I'm grateful for... and so should you. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Stop for a moment. Look around. For what are you grateful?

There are days that life can be almost too hard to bear. Take a few minutes to take stock of what you are grateful for. I promise if you do you will be able to bear it.

Want to talk about some more things that you can be grateful for? Contact Mitzi Bockmann here and let her help!

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.