The more you use it, the stronger it grows.
Gratitude is like a muscle, even though sometimes you might think it is circumstantial. You see people’s lives and think “well it’s easy for them to feel grateful, they…”
- have lots of money
- are gorgeous
- have kids
- live somewhere beautiful
- have a great job
- have lots of friends
But that’s not how gratitude works. Many of those people above will have an overall grateful attitude and many of them won’t. It’s not circumstantial, it’s an inside job. Gratitude is an attitude to how we choose to view our world and our life and the moments in the day. Glass half full or glass half empty?
Gratitude is a habit…
…just like anger, worry, stress, guilt. If your default is anger, that’s a neural network that you’ve been working on for years. Your brain is set up, ready to fire and wire for that outcome at the drop of a hat. Therefore, situations that anger you are really easy to find – sometimes circumstantial, sometimes simply by bringing up a thought in your mind.
So with gratitude, just like a muscle, we’ve got to grow it! Grow that neural network. We’ve got to practice it over and over and over until our brain is ready to fire and wire down that pathway in the blink of an eye or the sparkle of a dew drop.
Like any habit, gratitude is a path a practice and a choice in every moment. Do you seek to cultivate gratitude no matter what? This doesn’t mean ignoring feelings of sadness, fear or disappointment. It’s not pretending to yourself and others that life’s always roses. We are human after all, and therefore we live a range of emotions. We need to acknowledge them, feel them and then let them move on. Can we create gratitude even for the more uncomfortable feelings? For the punch of anxiety that we feel in our stomach, sending us a message if we dare to listen?
Cultivating gratitude is about the small things.
The feel of a warm jumper on your skin when the cold Spring wind blows. The soft fur of your dog’s ears when you kiss their head. The feeling of a hot cup of tea in your hands when you’ve just been working in the garden. The smell of fresh herbs as you cut through them with your knife. That sweet moment you have to yourself, zero interruptions.
And the big things. The gratitude that you blinked your eyes in the last few seconds because you have these amazing eyes that can read and see. A warm bed to sleep in. Access to this fresh, clean water pouring out of the tap into your hands, or over your body.
Gratitude is like a muscle…
People who are generally grateful and see the world through rose-tinted glasses aren’t lucky. Just like someone with a strong, fit body isn’t lucky. Both of those took dedication, commitment and the vision for something that they chose to cultivate.
Gratitude isn’t a luxury, it’s simply a life-enhancing habit that you can begin right this moment. What can you be grateful for right now?
Notice what it feels like in your body, memorise this feeling, and then practice it. Every day. Moment to moment.
See what comes from it…