“Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants.
Gratitude is becoming well-known as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that if we cultivate gratitude it can increase our well-being and happiness. In addition, an expression of gratitude to others is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.”
I have come to believe the truth in the above statements over the years, but let’s talk about how I came to get there 1st.
In my grandparents time they had to contend with war and ration so what you had was what you had and if you couldn’t afford it, you didn’t get it.
My Grandma still had some pots and pans that were given to her on her wedding day some 30 years later.
“Why don’t you get some knew pans Grandma” I’d ask
“I don’t need to, they do the job don’t they?”
Well, yes. Yes they did.
She had a point.
In my parents era, 70’s and 80s say, people felt as though they had to ‘keep up with The Jones’s” whoever they were.
“Eeeee our Alan, Mr & Mrs McDoGooder at no.27 have gotten a brand new 3-piece suite”
A new 3-piece arrives some 2 weeks later on credit from Rumbelows.
Curtains twitched and jealous tuts were heard behind the bordelaise anglaise nets as neighbours got new cars, garden sheds and god forbid a conservatory.
Why did we feel as though we had to have something bigger or better. That our self worth and image hinged upon our job, our car, our house and what we wore?
It’s the same today but on steroids.
If we all just take a moment to think about what we have right here, right now.
Do we have everything we need right here, right now?
There’s a fine line between needing and wanting.
Kids neeeeeeeeeeeeed the brand new iphone. I know of some children who take zero care in what they have because it’ll be replaced. They’re not grateful for what they have because they can have anything. Whether it is 30 hand gels or 25 pencil cases. It’s not needed, it’s wanted, it’s greed.
Some of us have become so wrapped up in what we think we want, we forget what we actually need.
For me, gratitude takes me out of self pity and makes me present in the moment. It stops me projecting into the future and wanting more, wanting better, wanting to be anywhere else but here. Now.
I first started to make a list of gratitudes about 7 years ago with a group of like-minded women.
We’d text each other every night things we were grateful for that day. These would vary from the everyday things such as a nice dinner and a walk, to the more celebrated things like promotions, birthdays and family.
Some days I really would be stuck for something to be grateful for. These were the days when I was full of hell and struggling, wrapped up in self and sitting quite comfy on my pity pot.
It’s days like these when this practise is all-the-more important. It’s days like these when we have to bring it back to basics.
“Today I’m grateful for being alive and having a roof over my head”
Some people don’t even have that.
So back to the beginning, how does being grateful for even the smallest of things change us psychologically?
Well, this video may help you understand:
I can honestly speak from experience and say that when I practice gratitude, my life and my attitude towards it are remarkably better.
Give it a go!