I’ve just started reading The Happiness Project by New Yorker Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen’s journey starts on a on grey, wet day on a city bus where she has a sudden realisation that she is running through her life. She is fortunate and has a lot to be grateful for, but she feels like she is taking it all for granted. So starts a year in her life of revelations and resolutions to be happier. She tracks her way through subjects like work, parenthood, leisure and friendship for 12 months, with every month providing a new topic and area of focus.
I’m telling you about this book because it’s entertaining and I think it’s pretty much a must read. But also because I think there’s a lot of value in the concept – being grateful for what we have.
We have so much to be grateful for today. While times are hard it’s actually not that obvious in our day to day lives. We might skip a meal out or make choices to holiday in our home country instead of going abroad. But actually the level of our material wealth, health, and quality of life in general continues to rise.
So we are the fortunate ones and yet it’s easy to feel discontented and to focus on the things that aren’t quite right. To allow stress to creep in, to take relationships for granted, and to be complacent about our health. Basically to lack appreciation for what we have…
Appreciation & gratitude
When I lived in London I shared a house with two of my dearest friends. We’ll call them Triple O and Little Canada. For a while Little Canada started a gratefulness diary. Every day for months she would spend just a few minutes writing down 3 things that she was really grateful for that day. Triple O and I joined in for a while but it was really Little Canada’s party. What I took from this (and more recently an interview that I watched between Brene Brown and Oprah) was that practicing gratitude leads to a more joyful, happy life.
Gratitude is very basically the process of being thankful and appreciating what we have. When we are thankful we are positive and focusing on all the aspects of our lives that we appreciate. Practicing gratitude naturally creates a feeling of joy and helps you to enjoy and be more present to your life. And…practicing gratitude is really as super simple as you want to make it.
Your gratitude practice:
Gratitude practice isn’t a great work of art…it doesn’t require loads of time or effort. It’s simple and quick and the impacts are massive. All you need to do is:
- Get yourself a notebook or create a document on your computer.
- Every day write down 3 things that you are grateful for that day.
- Very soon you’ll start to feel more positive about your life. It’ll feel like the balance has been restored and instead of looking for problems over time you’ll start to look for all the things that are amazing in your world. And, undoubtedly, you’ll feel happier too.
Over to you:
Leave a comment below. What are you grateful for today? And what does gratitude make possible for you?
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