I feel like 2016 has been a year of hype around gratitude, mindfulness and more recently hygge, all of which are ways to help ourselves be more in the moment so we can appreciate where we are and what we are doing. As technology plays more of a part in our lives, we can feel that life is ticking by without us paying attention to what is going on or appreciating what we have.
The practice of mindfulness encourages you to pay attention to the now, and practicing daily gratitude can help you appreciate what you have in the moment. I, for one, have not been the model student at practicing either, but we all have to start somewhere!
My overriding mentality, especially in the recent years, is to just ‘get things done’ and move on to the next challenge. It got so bad that even when I had worked to achieve something, as soon as I achieved it I would race on to the next goal. I wasn’t giving myself the time to savour that moment and feel satisfaction and joy at my accomplishments. My imperfection was that I was so concerned about the future, I was forgetting the now. I didn’t appreciate anything I had, as I either didn’t take time to recognise it, or I took it for granted. At the same time, someone in my family became unwell, and in all honesty, gratitude and looking for the positives were the furthest thing from my mind.
Even though it felt like the worst time, it was actually the best time to start thinking about gratitude and trying to embrace what was good, as well as accepting what wasn’t. At first it’s a mindset shift, and then it’s down to you to stick to it, so that it becomes part of your routine rather than something you start and then two weeks down the line forget. If you do feel like you aren’t keeping up, you could take part in something like #365 grateful or even start a gratitude diary which you write in every day. There’s quite a few ways to help make the habit stick so have a look around so you can find what suits you.
The whole concept of being grateful is that it doesn’t take much to have a really positive effect, in fact the simpler it is the better. Also being grateful doesn’t have to mean that you or your life is perfect. Are you grateful for the sunshine on your face today, or are you grateful for the fact that when it rains you have a house to go to? Are you grateful that you’ve got a friend to laugh with or that you’re body is working so you’re able to physically do what you want? Are you grateful that there is someone out there who loves you, whether family or a friend? Most people will have at least one or all of these things to be grateful about, but have you ever taken the time to stop, think and appreciate them? Until recently, I didn’t.
Certainly in times of trouble and unhappiness, it can be hard to see through the fog to find something to be grateful for. From my own experience and with practice, even when surrounded by fog, I’ve found that there is often at least one thing that I can be grateful for which acts as a little light of positivity to help me through. It makes you feel brighter, and as a result has an overarching effect on your relationships with other people.
My life isn’t perfect, and I’m far from perfect, but encouraging myself to think about the good in my life and being thankful for it, shifts my mind into a more positive perspective. I’m not saying it’s easy, sometimes it can be really hard, but I promise it is worth it.