There is a trend to ensure we include gratefulness in our daily routine – either by journalling, or by consciously acknowledging a few things aloud to another person. Some prefer the word ‘appreciation’, because being grateful implies overcoming something, or some people use the words interchangeable.
I don’t have a regular practice of being grateful. I don’t journal daily. Occasionally, I will make a list of things that I love about an aspect of my life, or about a person, or about myself. Most mornings, after my morning run, I will sit outside briefly and feel appreciation for the day. So, I am not advocating that you follow my example, nor am I advocating that you must practice gratefulness in a particular way. Just find a way that works for you, so that you are grateful for good things in your life, and turning you mind away from dissatisfaction.
What I do suggest, though, is that you start as generally as possible when you are trying to feel appreciation, particularly if you have had a bad day or things aren’t working out very well for you lately. So, in a way I am cheating, because I will provide you far more than 5 things I’m grateful for by starting with a general topic to be grateful for and then making a list of things to appreciate.
It is often the little things that can bring an immediate feeling of appreciation to your day. This is what I consider ‘putting on the oxygen masking on yourself before anyone else’. Look for the little things in your day that bring you comfort or satisfaction:
- waking up in the morning in your beautiful sheets, and feeling the softness of your pillow
- having a hot, steamy shower using a beautiful frothy shower gel
- that first warm sip of creamy sweet coffee
- the softness of your couch in the evening
- gulping ice cold water after an intense workout
Being conscious of appreciating the little thins throughout your day will add so much satisfaction to your life.
Instead of defaulting to what you don’t like about yourself, or beating yourself up over something you should or shouldn’t have done, you should focus on appreciating things about yourself that you love:
- your intelligence
- your stamina
- your fitness and strength – the movement of your body, and how supple and powerful it can be
- your humour
- your ability to motivate yourself to achieve
- the way you interact with other people
There are many things to love about yourself, so instead of being so harsh on yourself, focus on what you can appreciate about being you.
This is not necessarily romantic love, but generally your love and appreciation for other people or even pets. You could make a list of those people in your life that you want to bless, or are thankful that you have known. Even those people who have come and gone in your life, you can appreciate what they brought to your life, and what you learnt from them.
To start this feeling of love and appreciation for others, I usually start with my pets, because they are usually the easiest to love! By focusing regularly on loving and appreciating people and pets in your life, you can add a deep sense of satisfaction.
Do not discount appreciating the natural world around you. Taking time to notice nature, and appreciate the colours, the way the light plays on things, the way clouds arrange themselves in the sky, or the natural sounds of birds, is a great way of being mindful.
If you have never noticed what a beautiful place you live in, then now is the time to start. You will find aspects of natural beauty in many things around you, and you should appreciate them instead of taking them for granted. They are in your existence so you can take pleasure from them, so why ignore them when they can add so much satisfaction and beauty to your daily life?
Finally, you can also appreciate how amazing it is to even be alive. The magical phenomenon which is ‘life’, that you can even be here and interact with others at this time in the world is amazing. That you were born in the country you live in, into the family that you have, into this time in history, is something to appreciate.
That you were born as a woman when we have more advantages than ever before, and we are at a point in history that has so much possibility to implement positive change, is amazing. That you are alive and can contribute to the lives of others is amazing.