The Art of Gratitude and Appreciation

Want to know how to really change your life? Well, it’s easy – all you need is gratitude and appreciation.

Due to our culture (particularly in the West), social conditioning, and many years of practice, it’s really easy to default to a negative or pessimistic way of thinking. Quite often, without even realising it, we moan and complain our way through each day. And this constant barrage of negativity really does have a big impact on our outlook on life.

So what can we do?

Start by trying to be grateful for lots of little things throughout your day. It feels awkward at first and I was kind of thinking “Well, what have I got to be grateful for? All this stuff I’m supposed to appreciate is just normal.” And that’s ok; it’s just habit from so many years of thinking in a certain way. Just give the gratitude thing a go, and after a couple of weeks it becomes second-nature to start appreciating things without even trying to.

A big one for me is making a cup of coffee in the morning and going back to bed (I really really love doing this!) So on the days that I’m able to, I sit in bed with a coffee and really appreciate it. During the terribly cold, wintry weather that we had earlier this month, I reminded myself how lucky I was to have central heating (I didn’t when I was in Devon!) and how lucky I was to have food in the fridge when I was snowed in. When I do the washing up, I’m grateful that I have instant hot water. When I have a shower, I’m grateful that I have lovely hot running water and a warm towel to use afterwards. And when I order a takeaway, I’m really grateful that I can actually get it delivered, because when I was in Devon I lived somewhere so remote that literally no-one would deliver!

It’s not hard to find things to be grateful for; even things that we all take for granted now like having Amazon and Netflix… we’ve got instant access to more books, movies and TV programmes than we could watch in a lifetime and that’s pretty amazing!

So next time you’re doing something, try to be aware of it and just say thank-you!

Super-charging those good vibes

In addition to being grateful and appreciative, try swapping negative thoughts or statements for positive ones. The first step is to be aware and catch yourself each time you default to this state of mind; knowing that you’re doing it is half the battle! Then the second step is to swap it for something positive. For example:

Instead of “My friend is always late when we meet up, I don’t know why I bother rushing to be on time!” Try “My friend is often late, but it’s because she’s so laid-back and that’s why I love her. Plus, if I was ever late I know she wouldn’t mind at all.”

Instead of “Why do you always sit there playing on your phone when we go out for dinner? It’s so rude!” Try “I’d love it if we could talk instead of staring at our phones. This is such a great restaurant and I’d love to share the evening with you properly.”

You get the idea, right? I’m not saying we’ve all got to be on cloud 9 all the time (because we are, after all, human) but just try not to automatically default to something negative.

If you consciously work at being grateful, appreciative, and trying to put out a positive statement instead of a negative one, your whole life will begin to shift. Like attracts like, so attract the good stuff!

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