Updated: Dec 23, 2020
I first started formally focusing on gratitude daily 1447 days ago when I began journalling. Simple yet an effective practice as this led me to notice the smaller things in life that I previously took for granted.
Recently, I received some very sad news about someone who I only just met who had passed away after contracting Covid-19. He had messaged me just a few days before believing he was improving so it was a huge shock to hear that he had died.
The last year has been filled with uncertainty for so many of us and yet one certainty I have had is that there are always many learnings to be taken from these challenging experiences and that focusing on gratitude has made a huge difference to my outlook.
I have learned that life is much more fragile than I imagined it to be. I often took it for granted in the past. This has now changed as I am so grateful just to be alive. I focus on what difference I can make in my time left on this planet, always thinking “what can I do to help others?”
I am grateful for having a resilient mindset.
I am grateful for all the frontline staff, the real life superheroes. I clap and salute all those who continue to step forward to help in their own unique way.
I used to take my health for granted. I don’t any more. You only get one life. Make it count. Exercise and eat healthily.
When you focus on what you have as opposed to what you lack, you shift your mindset to one of positivity.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” A. A. Milne.
Practising gratitude is free, unlimited in its resource and available to everyone. There are so many positive benefits including improving the quality of your sleep, improving your self-esteem and enhancing empathy which in turn reduces aggression.
Studies have also shown that practicing gratitude reduces stress and even plays a major role in overcoming trauma to build resilience.
With a focus on gratitude, you will experience more satisfaction in life as your attention is shifted to experiencing positive emotions. Pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman said,
“when we take time to notice the things that go right – it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day.”
The science behind gratitude is simple. When you express or receive gratitude, the brain releases dopamine and makes a connection between the behaviour and feeling good. So the more you practice gratitude, the more often dopamine releases, the more you feel good.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” Aesop
What are you grateful for?
Take a piece of paper, write at the top, "I am grateful for…" then begin writing. After writing your list, take a moment to recognise how you feel.
Be grateful for life and help others to stay safe.