Because I’m happy: Find five things to be thankful for today

In a world filled with negativity, sometimes it is difficult to maintain a positive mindset.

For years I have found myself struggling with this very issue, as I imagine we all have from time to time.

A fact of life is that sometimes it sucks—there’s no other way to say it. Sometimes you want to say, “Peace out,” and crawl underneath your covers until the next morning when you are given a clean slate.

In a perfect world, we would be able to do such a thing. However, given the fact that life doesn’t cater toward our every need, we don’t have that option.

But one thing I have learned through all the negativity is that your mindset determines the way you view the world surrounding you.

I have a tendency to overthink things, and there have been and still are times where I will overthink a negative aspect of life — as little as it may be — and it will grow 10 times its size and consume my thoughts.

When this happens, I find myself feeling exhausted by the end of the day.

I realized when I allowed negativity and stress to enter my life, they were suffocating me, and no good would come out of negative thoughts or stressing about things that I could not change.

I then developed a theory. Perhaps the reason I was being consumed with negative thoughts and feelings was not due to “the world is a horrible place filled with horrible people,” but rather I was handing those horrible things and people a megaphone and letting them speak louder than the good in this world.

When I found myself getting into a slump, I started making myself list five positive things going on in my life at that moment in time.

Just five things.

Sometimes they were big, and I could name them right off the top of my head.

Other times they were smaller and took me a few minutes to think about.

But this “exercise” made me take a moment, breathe and really focus on the positives, causing me to look at the little things and make them into bigger things. I began to write down what it was that made me smile, whatever it was, and it made a dramatic difference in the way I approached life.

The more I did this, the easier it got for me to look at something small and see its beauty. Like wildflowers on the side of the road, the colors of the sky, a stranger smiling, birds singing or an incredible cup of coffee.

All of these things can be overlooked on a day-to-day basis. But when you take a moment and really see the world and the people passing by, you begin to appreciate so much by so little.

The little things can add up and make all the difference if you allow them to.

All you need are five little things to make you smile. Because let’s be honest: being happy is way more fun than being upset.

Acclaimed French artist Henri Matisse put it best: “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Rachel Toalson is a sophomore journalism major from Sugar Land. She is the Assistant Web Editor for the Lariat.