Are you grateful for your life? Or do you whinge about everything?
Gratitude is all about appreciating the things you have in your life.
Are you aware of all the goodness around you? The fact that you are breathing and reading these printed words is a marvel in itself.
How often we take something for granted and then miss it as soon as it has gone. Many a time a loved one has left us, only for us to wish we had told them just how much they meant to us.
Gratitude is a way of reaching back to our natural state of happiness. You get to notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong and begin to see every “problem” as an opportunity for growth and development. Is your glass half full or half empty?
I challenge you this week to begin to value all the goodness and beauty around you. This can be as majestic as a sunset or as simple as the feel of the clothes you wear.
Be thankful for a gift from a friend, a child’s smile, a stranger’s kindness, having got home safely this evening and simply to be alive.
Appreciate the weather too wherever you are. After all it is the rainwater that sustains all the nature around us.
Some of the happiest people I know live with an attitude of gratitude.
Adopting such an approach is a life long commitment and here are my tips to get you started.
1. List the things in your life to be grateful for and which you take for granted, such as your health, home, family, friends, work colleagues, car, and so on. Add all the things that you could not survive without, such as sunlight, air, water and food.
See how many things you can come up with. Keep this list with you, and refer to it anytime you get upset. See how long you remain upset!
2. Do something for someone for no reason other than simply wanting to do it. Have no attachment to the outcome. Pay for someone’s parking, or compliment a stranger.
3. Post a card of appreciation to someone whom you have not been in touch with for a while. Go one step further and send cards to five people and tell them how much you appreciate them being in your life.
4. Send a thank you note to someone who has done something for you, significant or not. Get into a habit of sending such notes by post. Most mail nowadays is junk mail or bills. Light up someone’s day. Create a trail of happiness behind you, as you go forward in your life.
5. Take time to feel awe and wonder at the world. See things as if for the first time ever. For instance, imagine just how fascinating a dog would look like to a child when seen for the first time. Slow down and notice the beauty around you. Stop and smell the roses.
6. Accept things as they are. No matter how much the situation has turned out differently to your expectations, it is the way it is. You don’t know how much worse off you could have been, had things gone differently. Savour the current moment and be grateful for what is.
7. Focus on what is right in your life rather than what’s wrong. Since we are so conditioned into noticing the negatives, we often overlook all the good in our life. Count your blessings and be thankful.
8. Say “thank you” as often as possible to all the people who make your life what it is. A smile and a simple thank you will do. This will have a magical effect on the person receiving your appreciation. They will feel that their efforts have been noticed and appreciated.
Play a game and count the number of “thank yous” you say. Then increase this number the next day. The opportunities to genuinely thank people are endless.
For instance, next time you are at a checkout desk, show your gratitude and appreciation to the cashier. He and his colleagues have probably been up since the crack of dawn to make it possible for you to have your daily groceries and for you to eat.
Acknowledge your postman. Do you even know his name? See how his face lights up when you show an interest in his life. Very few people know the name of the postman who may have been delivering their mail for years. Ask him his name and make his day.
If you work in an office, acknowledge and get to know the cleaning staff. If they didn’t clean up, you would soon know that it is not fun to work in a rubbish tip. Thank the men who collect your domestic refuse every week.
All the people you acknowledge will be truly touched.
And best of all, you will feel great too.
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