Image

Archive for Mindfulness

What if you awoke tomorrow with only the things you are grateful for today?

food bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have shouted the benefits of gratitude from the rooftops previously, and when I saw a version of this line about gratitude embedded in a recent post by Marc and Angel Hack Life (www.marcandangel.com), it really struck me afresh.

Problems can reverberate and echo through our lives like music carrying on long after the orchestra has packed away its instruments.  What if we intentionally struck new notes by turning our attention to what really matters?

Positive psychology teaches us that exerting gratitude is one of only a handful of ways we know of to raise our happiness quotient.  According to the research, it works better than winning the lotto, so some would say it’s definitely worth a shot.

Problems pesky ways of grabbing attention, much like a schoolyard bully.   So once we have a strategy for our difficulties, it can be helpful to turn our attention again and again to our life luxuries, no matter how hard the negative people and events try to hoover up our day, our energy, our lives.

What are the top five things you want to wake up with tomorrow?

The Fast Freeway to Happiness: Gratitude

gratitude pic 2Such a beautifully simple method for happiness!  Such compelling robust research evidence to show that it actually works.  Resisting would indeed be bloody-minded.

 And yet…trouble is, everywhere you look there are gratitude pushers.  Engraving the word on rocks, putting it on billboards, there are even several versions in clip art for goodness sake!

Then somehow gratitude starts to become devoid of meaning, even irritating.  Kind of like the way ‘don’t forget to breathe’ bumper stickers make me grit my teeth and white knuckle the steering wheel.

Let’s rescue gratitude from this horrid fate.

Because if it’s drive-thru, conveniently packaged, quick to digest happiness that you are after (and aren’t we all?), put gratitude on the menu.  Slide into your convertible Chevy Impala, tie a red kerchief over your head, and style your way right on down the highway of happiness.

Here’s how:

  1. Before bed list five things that you were grateful for today (rain for the garden, horrid coworker had the day off, yummy lunch…you know).
  2. Super-charge the benefits of the above by putting each down on a slip of paper, popping it into a jar, and reading out the excerpts at the end of each month. There are some really funky gratitude jars around.  They also make excellent gifts, especially for grumpy people.
  3. Before mindlessly placing a meal into your body, pause and share a moment of gratitude. Say it out loud.  From my 5 year old ‘thanks lambs for letting us eat you’.  Cringe!
  4. Write a letter: yes really, with a pen, stamp, envelope and everything beautifully olden-days like that. Let someone know how grateful you feel that they are in your life.  Be really specific about why.  This is happiness multiplied by two.
  5. Take a micro pause between waking and leaping out of bed. Then really appreciate the rest you just had, the sheets you are laying on, the brekkie you may eat, the people who love you.  Invigorate this process by considering the day ahead of those less fortunate than you.

Instead of enjoying our ‘who had the worst day today’ post-work gripes with each other and amplifying misery, let’s equally make room for the good stuff.  This is not ‘positive thinking’ (one of my pet hates), where we pretend that bad things are just fine or we ignore them.  No no no.  This is making sure that the beauty in our lives gets recognised too and does not get crash-tackled and completely sidelined by the heavy stuff.

I am thankful, appreciative, over the moon, stoked, having a celebratory party on the inside that I have this tool in my life!  I guess that I am grateful.

I am so getting the bumper sticker!  What are you grateful for?  Jot
5 things in the comments section, go on!