Have you ever wondered why some people seem so much more content with life than others? It’s not thanks to their income or the car they drive, or where they live. It could be in relation to how grateful they are. Take a moment to think about it.
Never before have we lived in an age where we are so bombarded with advertising. It is presented to us that in order to live a happy & fulfilling life, we need to obtain the latest of all the material goods on offer. Not only do we have to “have it” but we have to have it now because before you know it the next best new thing will come along and we all need to update... again.
The pressure and all of this stuff certainly doesn’t seem to be making us any happier. We as people have become disconnected from our lives and perhaps lost sight of what is actually important. Our emotions are closely linked to our health and it is widely accepted that we are at our most healthy when our mind, spirit and body are in balance. So if we have a material culture telling us we haven’t got enough but by design we never can, is it any wonder that our health is suffering? We are left feeling empty.
Practising the art of gratitude may be a way we can tune out those feelings of inadequacy and tune in to positive emotions and a healthy mindset. This in turn may be beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
The art of gratitude is simply a way to stop and reflect on your day or week and notice the many positive things you already have in your life or have experienced that day. It is deliberately looking at the glass as ‘half full’. This isn’t just a feel good experiment, psychologists have been closely studying this and have found profound benefits. One study found that keeping a daily or weekly gratitude journal (where you note 5-10 things per day that you are grateful for) led to more enthusiasm, alertness, greater positivity & less physical illness. Journaling also had a positive impact on progress towards personal goals; helped people feel more connected and even improved the quality of their sleep.
How you choose to journal your gratitude is up to you. Some popular options are to mediate on your gratitude while you walk or sit, write them down every day, or you can even download an app for your phone or tablet (eg 365 Gratitude). The idea is to create a regular habit, and one that is manageable.
You may ask what happens if you have had the worst day of your life? There will always be something to be grateful for (even if it is only for the fact that you are indeed alive).