Practice Gratitude Today
Posted by Adam Jelic on
Gratitude. The word is thrown around a lot. We all know a little about it and we know we should be practicing it, but what is it? We have to put together short course to provide an introduction and explanation of what gratitude is, why it’s important, how to practice it and why it isn’t just for hippie yogis.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude by dictionary definition is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. We like to think of it is observing the things around you and making a conscious effort to appreciate them. Sometimes gratitude comes to us naturally, for example when your best friend helps you move house – you may instantly feel grateful that they have taken time out of their day to help you. These examples, while still great, are more sporadic and aren’t practiced regularly. When we make a conscious effort to practice gratitude we look at the little things that we may take for granted, and appreciate them. This can make the difference between feeling helpless during sh#$ty day and turning a predetermined bad day into a rather lovely one. Once you are open to embracing the good around you – you won’t be able to stop.
Think about when you wake up – be grateful that you were able to sleep, be thankful for your comfy pillows and cosy duvet, be proud of the partner sleeping next to you and if you’re really struggling be grateful that you woke up that morning at all. While this may not be your exact gratefulness checklist – think about what good has come to you upon arising for the day.
What are some examples of gratitude?What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for tomorrow. We find this is the greatest starting point when thinking about gratitude. The sky really is the limit. We have created a list of just a SMALL proportion of the things you could be grateful for. Remember they can be massive and obvious things in your life, but real skill will become apparent when you think of the little things you usually take for granted. Examples could include;
- Your sister who always knows what to say
- The sunshine outside that you will be able to enjoy after work
- Legs that let you walk and run and dance
- The leftovers mum left you for lunch
- The fact that you landed the job interview
- Healthy air to breathe
- The roof over your head
- Your favourite song playing
- The holiday you just went on
- Access to food and water
- The delicious burger you just demolished
- A brain that allows you to think and function and imagine
- The way your cat brushes up against you
- The movie that makes you laugh
- The sleep in you had yesterday
- Kindness of a stranger
- The sunset
- The new dress that makes you feel beautiful
See – you’ve got sooooo much to be grateful for when you get down to it. Instead of looking at what others have – look at how lucky you are! For all you know, someone could be wishing they should be so fortunate.
Why is gratitude important?
According to studies conducted at Harvard Medical School, just five minutes of gratitude a day can greatly increase your happiness. The reason? It encourages positive thinking over negative. Thinking about it logically – it’s writing down all the things that make you happy or fortunate to be alive. It would be pretty difficult to detour straight into Negative Nancy after all that positivity.
"The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can't feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time." Tony Robbins
We personally think gratitude is important as it can provide a bridge over a river of negativity when times get tough. We suggest writing down everything you are grateful for when you are feeling hopeless or at a roadblock. It may help you look at things from a different perspective.
We all have days where we feel like the world is being especially tough on us. That’s a normal part of being a human. However, it is how we deal with it that will determine our routine for next time we feel that way. Downward spirals can happen quicker than you could ever expect. Get into the practice of gratitude both when you are feeling low as well as when you are feeling really good. Don’t think of it as a punishment, chore or something you must tick off your to-do list. Get in the practice of doing it because of how it makes you feel – or what it opens your eyes to. If you are really struggling – start with taking five minutes out of your week to take part. Build up once you become more comfortable with the idea.
A challenge for you. Spend the next week writing down what you are grateful for every day. If you are looking for a tool – check out our Gratitude Journal and Self Journal. See how it makes you feel and see how it changes your attitude to what’s in front of you. A further challenge – tell someone you love that you are grateful for them and why. Because the only better thing than practicing gratitude is sharing it with others.
The Gratitude Journal has been created to help you find appreciation and balance within your life. Gratitude is such a simple and powerful emotion, one that can make your life better in so many ways. Remember, It’s always difficult to feel depressed or sorry for yourself when you are feeling grateful.