Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert Braathe
I choose to be grateful. It’s a choice I make daily albeit subconsciously most of the time. There are days however where I spend ages trying to find something to be grateful for. On Saturday having been up most of the night looking after a sick child the thing I was grateful for was being able to take the bins out – honestly. That seems like a ridiculous thing to be grateful for but I truly believe that it’s worth it.
Why do I think it’s worth it? Because like throwing a stone into a calm pond the effect ripples out across the water so gratitude impacts my whole life. I pondered upon this on Sunday I came up with three reasons why I choose gratitude that I would like to share with you.
- It makes me happier. Periodically I look back on all the things I have noted in my gratitude jar or latterly in my gratitude journal. I like to do particularly at the end of the year to remind me what has been successful in my life. There is often more than I thought and each experience is positive and so brings back happy memories and makes me happy.
- It changes my perspective. If the day has not been my greatest and what I really want to do is crawl under the nearest cushion practicing gratitude helps me realise that *actually* my life is pretty good. I have all I could want and then more. Choosing to be grateful gives me an abundance mindset and I am able to see I am rich in what is important to me. It gives me something positive to focus on.
- It improves my relationships. By changing my perspective and by feeling happier I am less stressed and that means I have the space to breathe and that gives me a moment to choose kindness. In addition I find myself thanking others e.g. saying thank you to my daughter for showing kindness to her sister. I also say that I am grateful out loud e.g. to my partner for loading the dishwasher. All of this breeds more gratitude and kindness and so improves my relationships with others.
If these reasons don’t inspire you to take up practicing gratitude then in addition choosing to be grateful can build your self-esteem and self-worth. By understanding what you have achieved or how much people do for you then you will feel more confident and effective.
You might disagree that gratitude is a choice but we all make choices every day. Some days it’s easier than others. Not making a choice is also a choice. We make a choice whether something is a priority or if we just don’t want to do it. We choose how to react to unexpected situations. It is in these situations, when perhaps the gratitude process is hard to get started, Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within suggests you begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow.