The definition of gratitude ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”.
When we think of being grateful and expressing gratitude, it can be at times for external things, gifts, gestures from others and so forth. As a child I would often hear the word ‘ungrateful’, when I lacked appreciation for my family and all they did for me, giving me food, a home, all somewhat materialistic things. I guess you could say we find it easy to be grateful for materialistic things, and saying thank you when we receive presents, but what about thanking ourselves or expressing gratitude in the mundane everyday moments.
Gratitude has such a huge power if we learn to really harness the power of being grateful, not just for gifts, but for life, the small things. When I began to really express gratitude for life, I found myself smiling at the little things, the sunrise and the sunset soon became something so precious and something to be grateful for. Without gratitude we can become ‘ungrateful’ for the opportunity to live each day, we may lack appreciation for everything we have, becoming seemingly self-centered with a lack of enjoyment in our lives.
Here is an example of a day without gratitude, you wake up, do your usual morning routine whilst you get ready for another day at your job, you scroll mindlessly through your phone whilst you commute to work or you listen to background music whilst you drive, you go to work, complete what needs to be done, then travel back home to have dinner and go to bed knowing you have to repeat the same day again, you take a sign as you lie in bed and fall asleep. Now this is what most of our days can be like, of course individual circumstances may differ the day to day, but if we added a little gratitude even to the small moments in our day can you imagine how it might look and feel a little more joyful? Lets try, you wake up and open your eyes, as you enjoy and appreciate your first morning stretch, you smile, you feel grateful for another sun rise and another opportunity to complete your morning routine and you are grateful that you have work, breathing in a big deep breathe as you commute to work, listening to your favorite songs and appreciating the beauty in everything around you, at work you smile your way through all of the tasks and you are grateful for where you are right in that moment as once upon a time you dreamt of the life you have right this moment, you head home feeling content and you eat dinner and get ready for a peaceful nights sleep, you get into bed and you feel grateful to have such a bed and that it's time to sleep.
“Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people feel happier, more resilient, it can strengthen relationships, improve health and reduce stress” (www.possibilitychange.com/gratitude/)
Now I can sit here and write this whilst I am full of gratitude, however I am only human and I still forget at times to be present with life and appreciate everything around me, I also get lost in mindless scrolling through my phone, but I do notice that when I do express more gratitude that my overall mindset shifts into a calmer state. I am currently reading a book, and something really stood out for me in this book it said “Once upon a time you dreamt for the life you are living right now”, and this really impacted me as it was true, during darker times I use to dream of being anywhere in the world other than right where I was, and now I am living in Australia, I always dreamt of running my own business and somehow finding a way to make a career by doing ART something I truly love and I also once upon a time wished for someone to love me for me and that I have also found. Therefore I have a lot to be grateful for, and I choose to live with gratitude, everyone is unique and we are all on our own journey, it can be difficult to feel grateful and express gratitude, I used to think it was impossible. I feel it, I can see it, it surrounds me, endless gratitude for one thing we all have in common ‘BEING ALIVE’.