Having gratitude essentially enables us to not take things for granted. There are times when seeing the silver lining is a challenge, and I do not want to undermine real struggle and hardship. However, obstacles in life can lead to great rewards because we cannot come out of struggle without being inherently changed by it. Nevertheless, it’s up to us to make sure that change is good rather than bad.
Struggle can morph us into a bitter, angry spirit or we can become transformed by it. At the end of every quest to resolve the pain is the best solution: Gratitude. Let me be clear, suffering from depression is not lack of gratitude. I do not mean to say that people who have a mental illness need to just “snap out of it” and be happy with what they have.
However, in conjunction with therapy, exercise, proper sleep, and a support system—and, if all else does not work, medication—gratitude works wonders in lifting away the clouds of despair. The reason being that, if we take the focus off our own pain or problems and we focus on being grateful for something or someone, we can start to see the greater good in our lives.
10 Simple Ways To Show Gratitude in 15 Minutes Or Less
- Reach out to a friend via text or a phone call just to say hi and to let them know you’re thinking about them. Find out how they are doing, but steer the conversation away from a pity party if they are down in the dumps and share the bright side.
- Call your mom or your loved ones. Ask how they are doing. Listen more and speak less.
- Make a thank you card and send to a friend, family or co-worker. You can also buy thank-you cards, or browse online one for the many free e-cards available. But a homemade card is more special because you took the time. It doesn’t have to be elaborate.
- Let someone else take a parking spot that you were aiming for. The extra few minutes of a longer walk to the mall or your office building is also good for your health.
- Practice complimenting someone in your life, remind them of all the things they’ve done right. Turn the focus away from the bad if they respond with, “But…”
- Buy a bag of groceries for someone in need.
- Mow your next-door neighbors lawn free of charge.
- Help a friend or someone you know that needs assistance in organizing a part of their home.
- Volunteer to walk someone’s dog.
- Buy several $5 coffee gift cards and give them away, either to someone in your life who absolutely loves coffee but is having a hard time, or to a complete stranger “just because.”
Think about being stuck in traffic for 15 minutes or waiting in line for 15 minutes at Disneyland behind screaming kids. If you are getting yelled at by a customer for 15 minutes at work, that’s a long time. How about waiting on the phone and being put on hold for 15 minutes?
I sometimes think I have no free time and practically beg for my 2-year-old to turn 3 so she can pass her whiny and clingy phase. But I quickly realize that I’ll only complain later when she’s grown when I want nothing more than for her to be a baby again.
In other words, time is often perspective, and it’s subjective. It’s not how much time we have; it’s how we spend it. The same goes for money and exercise. Some of us can do a workout in 15 minutes and still see great results. While others might try for an hour and feel like they’re getting nowhere. Anything, and I mean, anything can happen in 15 minutes or less.
In less than a minute, you can be playing baseball and the next minute be shot, as was the case this week with Congressman Steve Scalise.
In less than a minute, 2-year-old, Lane Graves went from making sand castles near the lake’s edge at Walt Disney World to an alligator ensnaring him. His father fought desperately to open the alligator’s mouth, but was unable to do so. The alligator escaped and dragged the boy under the water. Lane died shortly thereafter.
In seconds, we can turn our backs and, especially with children, encounter dangerous situations. God forbid someone kidnaps them, like in the famous case of Adam Walsh.
There is less than a 10-percent survival rate during cardiac arrest if a patient’s heart can’t be restarted within 30 minutes. David Lines was very lucky. He was technically dead for 55 minutes, but doctors saved his life after 13 electric shocks.
If your body is denied oxygen for 10 minutes; that’s long enough for most people to sustain permanent brain damage.
If you’re driving on the road and get distracted, it can take just a split second for you to end up in a head-on collision with fatal results. Just ask 20-year old Jack Dillon Young, who in March of this year collided with a church bus and killed 13 people. And how did this happen? He told a witness at the scene, “I’m sorry. I was texting.”
Don’t think 15 minutes is nothing because what happens in that span can be a matter of life and death.
The Bottom Line:
Most of the suggestions listed here are more altruistic acts of kindness, but they also serve as reminders that we should be grateful for what we do have. Doing for others allows us to take the focus off our issues and ourselves. So, if you have 15 minutes to spare, why not do something good for someone else?
Acts of kindness and reminders of how abundant we are does not have to take long or require a lot of money. It is always the small acts of kindness that go a long way.
It doesn’t take long for bad things to happen, but it doesn’t take very long for good things to happen, either.