Can we talk about gratitude?
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
The beginning of the year is often a period when setting plans is the norm. Because the past two years have been entrenched with uncertainty, unease and frustration, it’s only expected that you will have your mind set on catching up with your goals and vision. While trying to find their footing in the “new normal”, it is very easy to get caught up in the busyness of the grind.
However, this can also be the perfect time to be more intentional about making space for gratitude.
The value of gratitude
The hustle and bustle of the grind often traps us in the monotony of life making it that much harder to notice all the good in our lives. We often become blind to the blessings we have. There’s great value in our blessings and even more value in being grateful for each of them.
Gratitude lifts your spirit
Even though we’re not for the insistent “good vibes only” mentality because it promotes toxic positivity, we do acknowledge that gratitude is essential when you need a pick-me-up. The world around us is frantic and busy. That in turn makes our inner worlds: our minds and spirits just as frantic. Feelings of gratitude slow us down and give us that much needed boost of confidence in ourselves, our community and our work or efforts. Gratitude is that angel on your shoulder that whispers, “You’re loved!”, “You’re worthy!”, “You’re doing a good job.”, “Life is beautiful.”
Being in tune with the present
Valuing gratitude is helpful in keeping us in tune with the present. Anxiety often has us worrying about the future. It robs us of the beauty in the present. You could be amongst friends and family sharing a wonderful meal with the most scenic views and still feel disconnected or heavily burdened solely because your mind is fixed on worries about the future. Gratitude fixes your attention on the good that lies before you in the current moment. It fixes your mind on the little things that really count.
Gratitude puts focus on all that you have and away from everything you lack. In the spirit of relishing in your own abundance, you’re more than likely to be more generous with the community around you.
“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” Randy Pausch
This generosity builds your community and often blesses them in ways that you didn’t think possible.
Maintains mental health
An attitude of gratitude helps individuals to deal with cases of poor mental health. Engage in more self-care. More optimistic. More progress with dealing with depression and anxiety. Better sleep, able to rest instead of rehashing the worries of life.
How to practice gratitude
1. Keep a gratitude journal
Take a few minutes to focus on something that blesses you. It can be something as big as landing a job or as small as having a full breakfast in the morning. All that matters is that it’s something that’s important to you. You can decide how often you add to your gratitude journal: daily, weekly, bi-weekly. It’s crucial however to select a time period within which you’d still remember what you’re grateful for before it fades from your memory. You can create a bullet list, one-line sentences or even write longer paragraphs about what you’re grateful for.
2. Keep a gratitude jar
This can be a fun one for anyone that wishes to see their gratitude notes grow throughout a set period of time. Here’s how it works:
Pick a container or a jar with a lid
Write down something that you’re grateful for each day and add to the container
Choose when you can read each gratitude note you put down: monthly, quarterly or after a whole year
3. Maintain a community
Sometimes life can be cruel. Having friends and family that will not only encourage you but also remind you about all the great and small things you have achieved and overcome. When hardships cloud our minds, it can be difficult to see all the good that is going on around us. Community becomes essential during such times.
4. Savour moments
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” Robert Brault
A good meal. A beautiful song. Hearty laughter with siblings. Deep conversations with friends and lovers. A cool sunny day. Sweet flowers. Quiet evenings. There are so many little moments that fill our hearts with gladness. But we often don’t take the time to savour those moments. When we do, gratitude flows in with no inhibitions.
5. Use music
It’s no secret that there’s music out there that we will play when we are heartbroken, enraged or even in need of motivation. But have you ever considered playing music that reminds you that there’s so much to be grateful for. By switching up the music that you listen to, you can switch your mind into a grateful wavelength.
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”