Just for a few moments, I invite you to take a few deep mindful breaths.
Mindful breathing connects us in the present moment, removing us from the stresses of life.
Notice how those breaths made you feel. Perhaps they calmed you and made you feel relaxed. You may have even felt gratitude for being able to breathe…. unaided.
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That’s the power of gratitude, it can take us from feeling totally hopeless to full of hope in a matter of seconds.
“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.”Jen Sincero
Deep, honest gratitude brings about shifts in our energies, enabling us to witness the miracles in our lives that we’ve otherwise taken for granted.
Gratitude doesn’t need to be only for important events. Understandably, you will be very grateful for moving into your new home, passing exams and being promoted at work…. but you can also be grateful for something as simple as receiving a hug from a loved one.
Did you know that Gratitude can help with easing anxiety?
By practising gratitude you can rewire your brain to experience less anxiety, by distracting your wandering mind into the present moment… noticing the delightful feeling of sun on your skin or tasting the flavours of the food you’re eating.
Practising gratitude can improve your mental health and wellbeing. You will find that you’re more emotionally resilient when challenges or episodes of anxiety come your way.
Practising gratitude means just that – you have to practice this daily, like you would a sport or any new skill. We never know what the future holds, so instead of stressing and focusing on the future, what if we really, really appreciated the present moment… all the little things that we forget to notice? Such as the ability to take a relaxing walk.
How gratitude benefits your life:
- Gratitude helps you live well in spite of anxiety even though it doesn’t completely remove anxiety.
- Gratitude is a natural awakening of your ability to see past what’s making you anxious, not a feeling that is forced or superficial.
- Gratitude is a way of thinking and being every day, not a mere technique.
- Being grateful is a shift in how you view yourself and the world. It changes your focus from what is wrong to what is right.
Feeling down is ok. Feeling lonely is ok. Feeling anxious is ok.
These emotions are all part of the human experience and would not exist if they did not serve us in some way. Allow yourself to feel them fully and without judgment.
Emotions are energy in motion, so let them move freely through your body instead of suppressing them and leaving the energy to stagnate.
Cry if you need to. Scream into your pillow if you need to. Give yourself permission to release in any way that feels right to you.
Then slowly, when you are ready, bring yourself back to the present moment. Breathe.
The present moment is all we’re promised, and so we might as well be present and appreciative for these moments.
Practicing gratitude is important on our good days. It matters even more on the ones when things aren’t quite so rosy.
The last 14 months have been by far something that none of us could have ever predicted, and one we choose never to repeat. So much has happened for every one of us. In times of crisis, it is hard to be grateful… but it’s not impossible, and the key to mentally surviving a crisis like this is to be grateful for the simplest of things in this very moment.
It has been a long and surreal year. We missed our family. We missed our friends. We missed our work colleagues. We missed normality. We are now grateful that the lockdown restrictions are easing and that we can meet with our loved ones and soon to be meeting in each other’s homes and dining inside restaurants. And to give and receive a hug. All of which we once took for granted.
Trials and suffering can actually refine and deepen gratefulness if we allow them to show us not to take things for granted. When times are good, people take the simplest things for granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. In times of uncertainty, though, people realise how powerless they are to control their own destiny. If you begin to see that everything you have, everything you have counted on, may be taken away, it becomes much harder to take it for granted.
We have plenty to be grateful for – difficult situations in our lives that helped us grow and heal, loved ones that stand by us, food on the table, a roof over our head, and so much more.
Being grateful doesn’t mean pretending that the bad stuff isn’t happening.
Being grateful simply means shifting your focus onto all the good things that are also there.
The energy of gratitude is one of the most important things for a happy life. It can hold you over even when things are at their most challenging.
Studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, have less aches and pains, are more likely to sleep better, have reduced stress, and are less irritable than those who do not practice gratitude. And these are just a handful of the benefits that being grateful can have on our health!
Gratitude is the act of expressing appreciation for things or people in your life. There’s always something you can think of to be grateful for.
This might include things like:
- Your partner
- Your best friend
- Your family
- Delicious food
- A good book
- Your pet
By taking just a few moments each day to reflect on the abundance of life’s gifts, we can truly appreciate the life we have, be present to it and consciously continue to open our hearts to more reasons to be grateful.
Gratitude Reflection Exercise