Today I want to talk about the single thing that totally changed things for me and that’s gratitude.
Gratitude is “the feeling of being warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received” according to the dictionary. Scientific research tells us that people who practise gratitude are happier, healthier, sleep better and even have better immune systems. Gratitude is the fast track to happiness.
I had heard all these things but didn’t really believe them. It all sounded too simple but I decided to try it out. I began by listing all the things I was grateful for. However, I did this very much by rote and it became very mechanical and repetitive very quickly. It began to become a thing I had to do. I knew this wasn’t doing me any good because I wasn’t actually thinking about what I was doing.
I did some research and found there were things that I could do that would make my gratitude practice more meaningful and more effective. I found a website called happify.com and it suggested I find new things to be grateful for every day. Instead of writing I am so happy and grateful I live in a beautiful place I began to be very specific – I am so happy and grateful that the buds are coming on to the trees outside my house. This one small change meant I was thinking a lot more deeply about what I was grateful for and why. I also tried not to write exactly the same things in any week. Now I was writing I am so happy and grateful I can see the faces of my children or the snowdrops on the way to work instead of I am so happy and grateful that I can see. When I started looking for small details, I found I was noticing them without thinking. Even on grey, wet days, I was finding lots to be grateful for. I was no longer focussing on what was wrong I was seeing things I was grateful for.
I then found a book called The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. This book has a series of 28 exercises to be completed over 28 days. I completed the exercises and still repeat many of them. This gives my gratitude practice a variety that keeps it very effective.
I also do the 6-phase meditation by Vishen Lakhiani. One of the phases is gratitude and it splits the gratitude up into
- Gratitude for things that happen in your personal life
- Gratitude for things in your professional life
- Gratitude for yourself.
This brought a new dimension to my gratitude practice. I found however that I prefer to write my gratitude down. It helps me focus and then I can read back over it on days when it’s harder to find things to be grateful for.
The gratitude practice has certainly made a huge difference in my life. I do, now, try to focus on the good things and I’ve discovered there are always good things even if, at times, I have to look hard. I think the last few months have shown me just how far I have come. The world and my small part of the world has become very worrying and scary and, at times, it has been difficult but I have managed to find things to be grateful for.
I am grateful that I’ve found my oils and can support the mental, emotional and physical wellness of my family and myself.
I am very grateful that my family are all around me.
I am grateful for the times we have had real laughs and real chats because all the activities had been called off during lockdown.
When you start, the list is endless and although I am, like everybody else, worried about all the people I know and what is ahead of us, I am also able to be happy, be calm, be present and not focus on the what ifs (mind you the Peace & Calming and the Valor are also working hard on this too!)
The picture I have included is the view from one part of my journey to work in the morning. Every day I am grateful to see the hill and how different it is.
Have you ever practised daily gratitude? Did you find it useful?
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