Day 188 – I’m grateful…
When times get tough, when difficulties become insurmountable, when it’s easy to give up, I’ve always encountered someone who tells me to look at the glass as being half full. I’ve been told to look at the upside and that having a positive outlook will get me through rough times.
Easier said than done. Yet, there is one practice I began only recently that I wish I had learned long ago for it is the positivity I have been looking for without having to simply grin and bare it.
That practice is gratitude. I don’t have to feel happy, or positive or upbeat when I practice gratitude. I don’t have to get dressed, take a shower and face the world to have gratitude. I simply have to pick up a pen or open my mouth, no matter where I am and what I’m doing. Like today. I’m feeling poorly. I slept well, but woke up feeling rough due to digestive issues that bounced back just when I thought I had healed myself of my ailments.
I wanted to get up, clean the house, water the garden, cut down the straggly branches from our garden hedge and generally prepare for my parents arrival back home. Instead, I woke up immediately wanting to crawl back into bed. But I didn’t. I got up, made myself a cup of tea and then basked in the sunlight, and birds in flight, outside our living-room window. I sat, sipping my tea, thinking of all the things I am grateful for no matter how I’m feeling. Today these things were:
I’m grateful my parents are coming back home.
I’m grateful for the times of solitude I have had these last four weeks.
I’m grateful for the Mynah birds and Humming birds that grace the trees outside our living-room window.
I’m grateful for the snippets of color that dash by our windows when the parrots are swooping around the garden.
I’m grateful for the time to sit, drink tea and be grateful.
Then I got up, got dressed and accomplished most of the things in my list above.
No matter how down I’m feeling, or how much I feel like giving up, having a gratitude list or journal (whatever works) has been one of the single most influential practices in my life this far. It is the positivity/ glass half full mentality I’ve been looking for in all the wrong places. I used to believe that I just had to push down all my bad feelings and put on a bright smile. Now I understand that gratitude is that key into positivity that I had been looking for all my life.
Gratitude creates a sense of opening inside my heart. It gives me fresh perspective on the reality I’m really living, no matter what my brain chemicals are otherwise trying to tell me. And it doesn’t even take very long. Everyday I try to write down a list of 5 things (at the least) that I’m grateful for. They can take any shape or form. I can even be grateful for having a rubbish day that helps me to appreciate the good ones. Whatever form the gratitude takes is what I’m grateful for.
I now longer see my dark moods as being so oppressive, and I turn to gratitude if and when they do. I also appreciate more that I have in life at the present moment instead of focusing on the past and the future so much. I also take life less seriously and smile at the little things, like a bug crawling over my windshield.
Gratitude opens up a whole new world of presence and positivity I never thought was possible, and all it takes is a simple ‘thank you’.
What are you grateful for today? How has gratitude helped you in your life?
- The Power of a Gratitude Journal (ilsewatson.com)
- A Few Notes on Gratitude (livingdreamteam.com)
- Understanding Gratitude: Take the Time to Thank (wellbeinginsideandout.wordpress.com)
- 7 Secrets for a Happy Life: 3. Be Grateful for All of Life (studiowithoutwalls.org)
- grateful (writingjen.com)
- Gratitude (samuelbannerman.wordpress.com)
- Come Fly With Me (advaharma.wordpress.com)
- Three Steps to a Happy Attitude (jbournesblog.wordpress.com)
- Overcoming the gratitude glitch (ritawatson.com)
- Gratitude (marlasgimmeaminute.wordpress.com)
- Gratitude: Where Healing The Earth Begins (mindful.org)