Starting the morning sitting outside in the crisp Spring air, with a freshly brewed coffee, looking down into the cup, and realizing just how much gratitude there is in enjoying a simple moment.
These days we keep ourselves busy. There’s a holy-shit-pandemic roaring outside, and if we have too many moments of pause, we might let ourselves think about it and all that it has taken from us. So we schedule meetings and activities and go about our day as though everything-is-alright. If we just keep ourselves busy from the moment we wake up, ’til the moment we pass out exhausted at night, then we never have to stop and think.
Well then, consider this your invitation to pause, or if you need it another way, this is your permission to take a pause. Only, what you are thinking about in this moment won’t be the noise of the world right now, what you can stop and think about is all the things you are grateful for, including tomorrow.
Not everyone is guaranteed a tomorrow, as this pandemic has clearly shown us. That doesn’t mean we don’t have room for the things we are thankful or grateful for. In fact, it maybe means we should be MORE grateful for what we have, in the face of what we’ve lost.
Wikipedia says “Gratitude, thankfulness or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful”, is regarded as a feeling of appreciation by a recipient of another’s kindness, gifts, help, favours, or other form of generosity to the giver of such gifts.”
Whether you’re the giver or the getter, gratitude will make you feel a sense of pleasure. The more you give/get, the better it feels.
An activity in gratefulness or gratitude can even brighten your day. Sitting down with pen and paper (or tablet/phone) and writing a list of all the things and people and moments you are grateful for is a way of re-living the goodness of those moment. Turning this activity into a practice that you fit into your day or week on a regular basis can bring in a whole other level of pleasure and joy.
The Dalai Lama says “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” This strikes me as a slogan for gratitude. Being gracious and kind go hand in hand. If you’re always on the lookout for where you can be grateful, being kind just seems to come naturally. For example: a simple act of kindness, holding a door for the next person behind you, will enact a sense of gratitude in the other person. This in turn can make you feel good for a simple deed. You’re more likely to repeat these acts of kindness when you have a positive interaction. Kind feeds kind, and your day will be brighter for it, and this all leads to you feeling gratitude towards your own actions and those of others.
Here are some example questions to get you in the mind of gratitude:
What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
What is the best thing that happened today?
Name one person you feel grateful for?
Where is your favourite place to go?
Where is your favourite place to relax?
What is your favourite way to make someone else happy?
What is one simple act that others can do to make you happy?
What is your favourite season, and why?
What makes you laugh every time you hear it?
What is something you take for granted, but would miss if it were gone?
What is your favourite song/music?
Writing in a journal at night, clearing the head before sleep, can really help you get a good night of rest. Starting a practice of writing at least one (but more if you can!) thing you are grateful for at the end of every day will have positive effects on your mental health and your general sense of well-being. You can start today, there’s nothing holding you back!
I’d love to hear some of the thing you are grateful for, feel free to use the comment box below and let me know!