Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Danke, Arigato, Obrigado…
I am so grateful for...(take a moment right now with your eyes closed to think of something you are grateful for in this very moment...feel it in your body...then read on).
Through GRATITUDE, we honour and acknowledge the gifts that have been bestowed upon us. These may come in the form of actual material things; people – their kindness or acts of service towards us; or events/moments that have shaped us on our life journey.
When we have an “attitude of gratitude” we are more likely to see the best in others, and it’s easier to live a life of non-judgement and inner peace too.
There is much evidence to support the positive impact on our psychological and physical wellbeing of practising gratitude. Evidence has shown that a regular practice of gratitude can make us happier, increase psychological well-being, enhance our positive emotions, develop resilience, increase our self-esteem, and make us more optimistic, reducing depressive symptoms. Physiologically, reduced blood pressure and improved sleep quality are just a couple of the benefits of living with gratitude as one of our deepest values.
The power of gratitude in our relationships, be they our more intimate ones, or our interactions with ‘strangers’ is significant too. Beyond ‘thinking’ gratitude, taking the time to express our gratitude at every opportunity, with sincerity, can really lift the spirits of the other, and in this age where we can find ourselves doing so much in isolation, online, or with ‘virtual assistance’, making connection with other human beings is essential to the survival of humanity.
A recent example of this – over the holiday period I was thinking about our local take away chicken, fish and chips shop. It struck me that they are there, everyday (except Xmas Day) with delicious and convenient food for our sustenance. [Yes, I know they are running a business, and yes, I also know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to eat from their menu daily!] The next time I went up to see them I took some time to express my gratitude to them for being there (for about 20 years I reckon) daily, reliably – they were chuffed! I’m certain that the small but intentional expression of gratitude helped them to know they make a difference to people in addition to running a business. They work their butts off, always have a great attitude, and I am so grateful they remain at the service of us locals.
It’s worth remembering that expressing Gratitude can be done in a variety of ways, as for expressions of Love (see next week’s blog!). Perhaps showing up for a family function is a way of acknowledging, being grateful for our family’s support and presence in our lives. Donating our time is a way of giving back, of actioning our gratitude for our blessings.
As a meditative practice – thinking or listing all the things we are grateful for is a sure-fire way of feeling better, reducing sadness and anxiety – bringing us into present time awareness, and creating connection.
You may wish to experiment with this by doing a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge – using a notebook and recording 3 things at the end of each day that you are grateful for! You will find yourself looking out for those three things during the day, rather than focussing on what may not be working out for you that day! It will change your perceptual filter, and improve your well-being. Some people choose to do this in a more visual way – choosing one thing to take a picture of each day, resulting in a visual gratitude journal!
There might also be a specific place you can go to where you can focus your gratitude – while we were in a botanic garden recently we came upon a sign prompting us to practice gratitude while we were sitting on the Bench of Gratitude!! It may be under a particular tree, or in a special place in the garden or elsewhere that you can tune into the character strength of Gratitude!
Saying “Grace” is a ritual that, although it seems old-fashioned and perhaps a purely religious ritual, is actually simply a way of acknowledging, saying ‘thanks’ to those people who have prepared the food and being mindful of the source of the food, and in doing so, taking the nourishment from that food so that we can fulfil our tasks/purpose this day. Some might even say it raises the vibrational and healing energy of the food!
It costs nothing, and gives so much to carry an intention to practice GRATITUDE wherever we go…I wish you well on your journey forward, and am grateful to you for listening!
Infinite Love and Gratitude, Gabrielle
As a part of my own spiritual and personal practice, I chose 52 words to reflect on over the course of a year.