Gratitude...what exactly is it and just how do you do it???????
Gratitude is being shouted from the roof tops at the moment, and rightly so. It has massive benefits both to your mental and physical health. But that doesn't mean we need to walk around 100% happy ALL of the time.
We can feel low or fed up and still feel gratitude.
We are human beings, we have a mixture of emotions. This mixture is needed to allow us to be balanced and healthy.
Yes things could always be worse and someone may be worse off than you are but you are allowed to feel low, annoyed, frustrated etc. It is balance.
By allowing yourself to feel and acknowledge the down feelings as well as the high feelings you allow yourself to be free.
Gratitude doesn't have to be all time consuming. Yes in an ideal world you will feel grateful every day but in reality we are all very busy. Its ok to feel gratitude once in a week, once in a month even. There are no rules when it comes to gratitude.
If you say to yourself I am going to feel grateful EVERY day are you putting unrealistic expectations on yourself?
Life happens, we go through trauma, we go through 'those days'.
Its ok to not feel very grateful on those days, the trick is when its not 'one of those days' to find the time to be grateful. By that I don't mean you have to take a whole day out....
That moment when you catch your kids doing something and you flash a smile...that's gratitude.
That moment when you thank someone for flashing you out of a junction...that's gratitude.
The moment you pause for a brief second to see the amazingly beautiful sunset...that's gratitude.
You catch my drift? Gratitude doesn't have to take time out of your day, the trick is noticing you are grateful.
Then as you notice these moments try and build on them...
You are stuck in a traffic jam, your late, your feeling annoyed that you are not moving...rather than feeling frustrated, take a deep breath and ask yourself am I dry? Am I comfortable? What is THE worst thing that is going to happen if I am a few minutes late? Could I take this time out to plan or think about something that I haven't had time to think of before?
That simple act of changing your mindset has THE biggest impact on your whole mental health....give it a go.
A lovely one to try can be done when you are lying in bed about to go to sleep or when you are in the bath / shower.
Try counting your blessings, start with just one, find one thing you are grateful for.
I bet you can find one thing....
No, how about the roof over your head? The duvet you are under? The warm water you have if you are in the bath/shower? The internet...the list goes on. There are so many the possibilities are endless.
The fun part can be expanding on them, for example, if you are grateful for the duvet you are under, what about the jobs that were created making the duvet and getting it to you? What about the washing powder that keeps your duvet clean? We all love that fresh sheet smell do we not? What about....well I will leave that up to you ;0)
So no, you don't have to be grateful EVERY SINGLE day but try allowing a little bit of gratefulness into your life, then add a little more...you will be surprised at the difference it begins to make on your life and stress levels.
But remember you are allowed to feel the negative stuff too, as long as you acknowledge it, let the feelings happen and let them leave. If we don't acknowledge them they can not leave....
Be grateful, be kind but don't feel you have to be grateful every second of every day. However letting gratefulness in a little at a time will help it build and grow without you realising, before you know it you will be practising gratitude more and more....