What I’ve learned from being grateful

I’m grateful. Generally, sporadically, genuinely grateful. I’ve been practising gratitude a while, particularly in the last 28 days as I challenged you all to join me. Even as a happy-go-lucky, hopeless optimist I’ve learnt some things on this journey and I wanted to share them with you. I hope to inspire you to consider putting on your gratitude goggles too.

The most important thing I’ve noticed? There is always something to be grateful for. It can be hard some days. If you are having one of those days (or you think you are) then coming up with 3 things you are grateful for can be challenging but if you look, I reckon you could find one thing.

  • your health
  • someone smiling at you
  • clean water to drink
  • a cuddle from your pet
  • having pen and paper to write your list
  • getting the chores done

This observation has given me a complete mind-shift. In writing my gratitude list it has slowly but surely started to impact on my entire way of thinking. Take this blog for example, in an ideal world I would like to have it written in 30-45 mins and published by 11am on a Monday. Today is Tuesday and I am being interrupted every 10 mins or so. Instead of seeing the interruption as a source of frustration I am grateful for the opportunity to support my kids. One of the main reasons I work from home. I don’t always see this gratitude in the moment however, but looking back I often see they happened for a reason – usually to teach me something!

Gratitude grows. Just like a plant the more you nurture it, the more it grows. So perhaps like me, you started the month writing three things. Now my list is anywhere from 5-20 things long. The amazing thing is that it doesn’t take me any longer, they just spill out of my head and onto the page.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” 
 A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Have you ever heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend time with, this also applies to feeling grateful. Surround yourself with people who are grateful (or better still, choose someone who isn’t and be one of their five) and it becomes easier for you to nurture your own gratitude. Not to mention that gratitude is a leveller. It doesn’t matter what your bank balance is like gratitude can make you see how rich you really are. It is something on the inside, not something you can buy or win. Anyone can do it. Anyone. I knew this of course but as I see more gratitude in my own life, I see more grateful people too and they inspire me.

Life is more enjoyable. I was saying to my best friend yesterday how I have felt calmer in the last month and I am sure my daughters would agree I am enjoying life more. I have stopped reading/watching the news too, that has made a huge difference as I don’t get sucked into the negative stories the media puts out. This has reminded me that the world is a good place, I believe people are inherently good for which I am grateful.

Finally, I have learnt that gratitude is a gift worth sharing. As I have expressed my gratitude (in person and on paper) I have seen more people reciprocate and demonstrate gratitude to others. My eldest has started saying thank you a lot more and helping out around the house – something I haven’t asked her to do. I don’t know if it’s related but I am grateful for it anyway!

Take 30 seconds and start changing your life by commenting below on what you are grateful for today.

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