Gratitude is such a powerful word, emotion, thought and experience. It ignites a sense of presence and appreciation for all things big and small which in turn has an overwhelming positive knock on effect on personal wellbeing.
I start and end each day with gratitude and thanks for so many things in my life. I constantly dip in and out of gratitude as well throughout the day, especially in stressful or highly emotive times. The beauty of this practice is that it brings you back to the present moment, it opens your eyes to all the amazing things, people, opportunities and blessings around you and it grows your appreciation and overall happiness as a result.
Once you start looking for things to be grateful for in your life, it leads to you noticing beauty in even the most seemingly mundane things. It starts small and gradually grows and leads to an overflow of appreciation. It’s the law of attraction at work, once you start noticing and giving thanks for the little things, more nuggets of joy will begin to show up as a result. Your sense of awareness becomes more heightened; helping you to take in all the good around you which you may have otherwise passed up. Practicing gratitude can also help break the mindless cycle of rushing and racing through each day.
Gratitude should also be practiced for things that may not seem all that good from the outset, or may not be how you planned but trust and give thanks anyway. Best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein refers to these ‘obstacles as detours in the right direction’, so think of this next time something doesn’t go exactly to plan and look for the new opportunity.
So I challenge you, at the end of each day, write down five things you were grateful for that day, or partner up with a buddy and do it together. Text or email each other every evening (if you don’t live together) and list your five things. Having a buddy can help, as it will keep you both motivated. I remember myself and a friend did this a few years ago. Each evening we would send each other our gratitude list. At first I found it quite hard, some days I felt like the day had just flown by and I literally couldn’t think of a single thing to be grateful for, so I would often repeat things I had said on a previous day or make up something (so as not to admit my failings!). Now I could literally list off hundreds of new things each day to be grateful for. This experience has helped me develop a new awareness of my life and become more conscious of my everyday interactions and my surroundings. I beam and give genuine thanks for what appear some of the most basic and common things.
Practicing gratitude is said to provide some of the following benefits:
- Increased self-esteem
- Better relationships
- Increased productivity
- Improved sleep
- Increased energy
- Less interest in materialism
- More resilience
- Less self-centeredness
- Increase in optimism