“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” Frank A. Clark
What is gratitude and why it’s important?
I never learned what gratitude truly was until my early 20’s.
Of course, you’re always told be grateful for the food on your table or comparisons with other poorer countries on why you should be more grateful for what you have.
But it was never fully explained to me the true benefits of what gratitude can give to you. Especially with all the studies I have read on the benefits on your mind and body and overall happiness with life.
For me, gratitude is taking the good from the past and making it present that fuels me for my future. It allows me to calm my mind and be free in that moment.
Studies have shown those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This shows the importance gratitude can have on the mind.
It’s a practice that has been performed for thousands of years amongst religious leaders and philosophers. The benefits are documented and have been proven to work even if we don’t quite understand how.
So why in western culture it’s not part of our education or taught within our workplace? With the advancement of industrialisation and technology, is it something we have taken for granted?
These are questions i wanted to answer myself.
So I decided to go 30 days without fail to practice gratitude myself. To learn the true benefits of practising it daily and making it a habit that’s part of my life.
The best thing about this challenge it’s a win-win outcome.
Here’s how I got on,
My 30-day story of practising gratitude
With all the information at my disposal, I was ready to start my gratitude challenge of at least 1 minute a day. (I choose 1 minute to make it impossible not to do)
Understanding the time of the day I enjoyed best I choose the morning as the best time to do it. I could either do a quick gratitude of my surroundings or I could write it down.
After my first week, on reflection, I was definitely more conscious of my surroundings and everything good in my life.
It’s easy to get lost in the future of where your headed and dragged back to past experiences but with practising gratitude I truly felt present and defiantly happier for feeling that way.
Beginning my second week I was happy with this technique being part of my daily routine but as the day went on this feeling slowly went away.
So I scheduled a quick 1-minute gratitude wherever I was within my surroundings to keep me present. Especially when my thoughts were starting to drift towards negativity and things got out of my control.
In the evening when I was winding down to review my day. I added in a gratitude journal time that allowed me to gather my thoughts from the day.
It enabled me to let go of anything bad or picture experiences I had again and find the positive from it instead.
After 3 weeks I felt a lot happier and much calmer than I have felt in a while.
I was defiantly more conscious of my surroundings and how I respond to situations.
For example, I walked into a local shop and I didn’t get a good vibe back from the person serving me. I remember coming home and explaining this and 3 other negative things I spotted on my way to the shop.
Then my brain was triggered with being more grateful. I went back over the situation and changed from looking for the bad in my experience to looking for the good.
For example, I am grateful that the shop is just a minute walk away. They have the food I wanted and I had someone to serve me so I could purchase it.
For me, this was a big turnaround and showed the importance of being grateful for the experiences we have every day. Understanding that you can either have a positive or negative experience is down to your perspective.
This was now becoming a great daily routine and also a conscious one with my experiences. It was a lot easier to apply and I was seeing the benefits of it in my interactions with others.
What were my findings?
On reflection, this technique is highly talked about and practised because it works.
I have learned to be grateful for what I have, who’s part of my life and the world around me.
It has also challenged my negative reactions to life that was deemed normal. Now I have a different approach that makes me happier without any more energy.
Overall I feel a lot more balanced and my whole body language is a lot more positive for it. I have better interactions with my family, colleagues and even strangers. When your brain is calm it’s in a positive state and the benefits you gain from this are exponential.
I challenge you to start a 30-day gratitude challenge!
Let me know how you get on.
I will leave you this quote
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens
At Future Mindset, we are here to push the boundaries of our thoughts and actions. By chasing discomfort in our lives, it can lead us to unlock things inside us we never knew was there. Let’s change our mindset to change our future.
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Chase discomfort and have a great day wherever you are!