What do I have to be grateful for?
Life brings challenges on a daily basis. Sometimes they are small and irritating and sometimes they are big and all-consuming. Whatever the size of our obstacles, they can wear us down and we can find that negative thoughts and emotions can start to grow and stress can start to build. When we find ourselves pushed and pulled in all directions by the demands of our everyday lives we can spiral into a sea of negativity. We may wonder what is there to be grateful for.
But we can actually find all sorts of things to be grateful for in our lives right now and these could be the smallest of things, In fact, minor events and experiences in life can make more of a difference in making us happy than more significant ones.
1. a warming cup of coffee
2. enough food to eat
3. family / friends
4. the warmth of the sun on your face
5. sharing a smile with a stranger
GRATITUDE has gained much attention in the field of Positive Psychology. Gratitude is about feeling love and appreciation for oneself and others. And contentment comes from having this 'attitude of gratitude'. Feelings of gratitude can help relieve depressive symptoms and can serve as an antidote to negative emotions. Noting down positives in our life enables us to pay attention to the good things in life we often otherwise take for granted. In that way, we start to become more attuned to the everyday sources of pleasure around us — and the emotional tone of our life can shift in profound ways.
THINK OF 5 THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW
...And write it down
Keeping a gratitude journal is a useful way to remind yourself of what you’re thankful for. Sometimes during challenging times, it’s helpful to look back on what you wrote to give you an added positive perspective. And research suggests writing it down can really help - by translating our thoughts into concrete language we become more aware of them, and this deepens their emotional impact.
Look for Things to Appreciate and Be Grateful For During the Day
At the start of the day list at least 5 aspects of your life you’re thankful for soon after you get up — perhaps while having your first cup of coffee or while travelling to work.
Throughout the day look for things to appreciate. These could be: positive things that happened, things you appreciated seeing or doing, time you enjoyed spending with other people, or anything else that comes to mind. You’re essentially looking for as many aspects of your life as possible to put on your gratitude list. If you have time, you could note down the things you appreciate as you notice them.
At the end of the day list 5 positive things you experienced during the day. More if you wish and reflect on the detail. For example, instead of saying you are thankful for a certain person being in your life, write down something that the person did or said that makes you grateful you know them.
Discovering Gratitude in Everyday Life Experiences
We can feel resentment for having less time to ourselves due to the challenges of caring but if we take an everyday activity and use it as an opportunity to practice gratitude we can find space when we may usually feel rushed and appreciation in something we usually take for granted.
Choose one everyday experience, slow down and savour it. For example, drinking a cup of tea. Sit down in a comfortable chair, Put your phone away for a while and just sit quietly and feel your body being supported by the chair. Imagine you are planted firmly in the ground. Enjoy every moment of drinking your tea.
Engage all your senses. Smell the aroma. Notice the temperature, colour, consistency. Anticipate the first sip before you take it — what do think it’ll taste like? When you take the first sip, let your taste buds tell you what flavours you’re experiencing. Feel the warmth of the drink as it moves down your throat into your stomach. Open up the experience by observing your surroundings, the sights and sounds and smells mood and energy of the environment.
Savouring an everyday experience helps you to be grateful just for being alive and for the opportunity to enjoy everything life has to offer.
Discovering Gratitude In Mundane Activities
Choose an ordinary activity that doesn't particularly excite you. For example, you can decide to be grateful while you’re buttering bread.
Start by being grateful that you can walk as you walk towards the bread bin to take out the bread .When you open the fridge to take out the butter pause and take a moment to look in your fridge and be thankful for food you have. As you take your plate out of the cupboard, be grateful for the efforts made by the people who worked in the factory where the plate was made .As you butter your bread, think of the farmers who produced the grains and the cows that gave you their milk, the factory workers who helped make and package the products, the drivers who transported them to a shop near you, and the staff who work in the shop. All these people helped make it possible for you to have the convenience of buying the food you need so that you can enjoy your bread and butter today.
We can become aware of our sense of connection to the world and our gratitude for this connection can make us feel much more in harmony with our world.
Incorporate at least one or two of these ways of expressing gratitude into your daily life. If you assume an attitude of gratitude consistently, your level of satisfaction with your life will increase over time; the sky becomes bluer, the sun becomes warmer! You will start to feel lighter, happier and more content.
To enjoy the preciousness of our lives means we cannot take what we have for granted. It has not been so much that our experiences have affected our happiness but how we have chosen to frame them. We can choose to feel annoyance and torment—or we could decide to feel joy. It does require conscious effort, but gratitude can help us to feel the joy.