Gratitude

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey
Gratitude is a word, a concept, a feeling, that we all know and understand. But so many of us do not truly know the power of it. Simply put, gratitude is an overwhelming sense of being thankful, a need to return kindness or show appreciation to another. To actively practice gratitude is a must-do for well-being and increasing positivity in your life. Many do not do this and today, I would like to take this opportunity to share why I now love practicing gratitude. Gratitude is so vital for positivity and happiness as feeling thankful allows you to feel joy, it can, literally, bring happiness. There is also increasing evidence showing that grateful people are more enthusiastic, interested and optimistic than those who aren’t. Having this kind of disposition means you are less likely to be anxious or depressed and within psychology, gratitude is often highly associated with life satisfaction. Even more than that, gratitude is also related to your ‘sense of coherence’, helping you to feel like life is more manageable, comprehensible and meaningful. (Salutogenesis, Antonovsky, 1979) Many people do struggle with being thankful. It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing on our burdens and remaining in a negative mind state rather than seeing the abundance of goodness in our lives. But practicing gratitude regularly can condition your mind to see things in a more positive light, to be able to reframe experiences. Whilst life inevitably gets in the way of positive emotions, your energy is better spent on finding solutions to your problems rather than wondering what will go wrong next. One of the most common ways to practice is to keep a gratitude journal, whether that is a good old paper and pen version, or electronically in this modern age. Whilst many recommend writing every day, I myself found that it quickly became a chore, an alternative is spending just 15 minutes at the end of the week, writing down everything you are grateful for that week. It does not have to be major accomplishments it could be as simple as being grateful you took a water bottle on a run when you started to feel dehydrated. As months go by you will hopefully notice that you will start looking at life more positively and feel better in yourself being able to look back at the positive moments happening in your life. If you wish to do it every day, feel free to do so, even thinking of a couple of positive moments from earlier that day can boost your mood. Another simple exercise, from Professor Martin Seligman, is known as ‘what went well’. For this exercise, you first think of three things that went well that day and then you describe why it went well. This has been a tested and proven way to increase happiness and gratitude. Every day I find myself thankful for something and it reminds me of how much goodness I have in my life, despite anything negative also occurring. In those moments I feel lightened and happier and I hope you can feel the same. Happiness to you, L x

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