We have all shown our gratitude to others throughout our lives when we feel appreciative of what someone or others have done for us. We have this overwhelming need to feel grateful for the actions of others.
The benefits we receive from the actions of others allow us to make our feelings known to them and how they have made us feel, using gratitude is a wonderful way to express these feelings. Much of the time this is expected and quite instinctive with a simple yet polite “Thank You”.
As you can see from a very young age, we have all been practicing the art of gratitude, this is something we may have inherited from our parents with the endless interruptions from them, “now what do you say”, “where’s your manners” and finally “have you forgotten something”?
Considering we have all been practicing this form of gratitude it is always a nice feeling when we have been enlightened by someone that has unknowingly made our day in some way or another, this is when real gratitude shines in all its glory. The unexpected appreciation in these situations can have a huge impact on both parties involved.
Now imagine having this kind of appreciation in your arsenal of tools to lead you on your journey of positive well-being.
Developing Attitude for Gratitude.
To some people gratitude comes naturally yet to others it doesn’t. Much of the time a lot of us must work at it. This can cause several problems when we are searching to develop our attitudes for gratitude.
The essence of gratitude is to be thankful for each moment and every moment that passes us by, to feel each moment, starting with the appreciation of each one of our five basic senses, touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste so is to be grateful for the gift of life that we have all been given.
Trying this excise to help you understand how to incorporate each one of your senses in to a meaningful and grateful experience.
Take your Senses for a walk – What is a Gratitude Walk?
The health benefits of this exercise are a great start to opening your mind to all the wonderful things around us. Walking is very beneficial in its own rights, due to the nature of the physical aspect of a walk.
Walking naturally decreases stress due to the brains release of happy chemicals called endorphins, which is complimented with an increase in your heart rate allowing better blood circulation decreasing blood pressure and releasing the feelings of being lethargic.
This means you have already placed your mind in the perfect place to start adding things to be grateful for. Start by being grateful that this simple walk has already benefited your state of mind and body.
Baring this in mind you’re ready to be more susceptible to the things around you.
I’m extremely lucky to have natural heathland a few minutes from my home, if you are fortunate enough to have a favourite park, forest or heath near you to visit, this would be a great place to start, Unfortunately not all of us have this luxury, so if you can’t get to one of these places don’t fret, even a walk through the busy streets of a city can have the same effects.
Here’s where our senses start to kick in. Start to pay attention and examine all the objects around you, feel the bushes, trees, grass, walls as you walk by, take notice of how they feel, be aware of all the different smells, lights, colours that surround the area and see if they jog any good memories you can be grateful for, listen to the birds, insects even the traffic and the chattering of people if you’re walking down the street.
Take everything in, be aware of everything, every smell, every sound, engulf yourself and be aware of how you feel about each observation.
You will soon find a calmness in your mind. This feeling of serenity becomes the gratitude of the moment you are in.
As impressive as this may feel for the first time, try this exercise on a regular basis. It never ceases to amaze me that this happens every time I commit to one of my gratitude walks. Why not appreciate this gratitude walk with a partner to really appreciate them two folds?
The Heart of Gratitude.
As I’ve said before the essence of gratitude is to be thankful for each moment and every moment that passes us by, but there are so many other reasons to practice gratitude within yourself which will benefit you and others around you.
The heart of gratitude doesn’t have to stop at making you feel good in the moment, it can also have a huge impact on your very way of life and overall well-being.
Research over the last decade has proven that leading a grateful life can improve and strengthen many areas on your journey while on this planet.
Studies have shown that gratitude can:
- Improve your sleep patterns and allow a better, longer and more fulfilling sleep, helping mental and physical recovery for the following day.
- Improve relationships with newly founded associates and strengthen bonds with companions, friends and even neighbours.
- Improve mental health and strength, helping us to better deal with day to days stresses, reducing the manifestations of depression and work overload.
- Improving physical health.
- Improve empathy and sensitivity towards others around you.
- Help reduce anger and aggression especially in heated and high stress situations.
- Boosting self-esteem so to enjoy and welcome the achievement and triumphs of others.
As you can see practicing gratitude can have a massive effect on every aspect of your life, leaving us with just one question? How can I start practicing and obtain all the benefits of this wonderful way of thinking, how can I reset?
Luckily, we have added three ways to get you started today. Two of the ideas below I personally use and I’m so thankful that someone told me about these ideas. These simple yet powerful ways will allow you to create and harvest your first steps to leading continued grateful way of thinking.
A Jar of Gratitude – What is a Gratitude Jar?
A great little excise that you and the whole family and enjoy, this simple cheap and effective task can have amazing effects on your well-being and can dramatically change your perspective on how you think about things.
- 1 Jar, (big, small, glass, plastic) If you have no jar you can always use a box/tin (shoe box, cereal box, baked bean tin)
- Crafting material’s – Optional but very good fun (coloured paper, glitter, paint, glue, ribbons and anything sparkles)
- 1 Pen, (marker, felt-tip, crayon, coloured pencils your choice)
- Several pieces of paper cut to the same size of a bank/credit/store card
- Go search for your jar/box/tin (just be careful that there are no sharp edges on whatever you choose because you will be using it every day)
- Time to get creative, decorate your chosen container however you please, it’s totally up to you it’s your gratitude jar. its great fun if you can get the whole family involved at this stage. Take the time to add your own personality and if your whole family helps with the decorating then you will have a multitude of personalities making the occasion very gratifying. The end results of your family jar will be a pleasing memory even if you don’t continue the following steps.
- Carefully cut your pieces of paper in to the relevant size, just an idea, but why not use different coloured pieces of paper and who to say they need to be rectangular or square, why not cut lots of different shapes like stars, triangle even hexagonal if you feel extremely creative.
- Now for the most important step… The Pen! Once your Jar has been completed, take your first piece of paper and write down something that makes you feel good. This can be something as minuscule as the smell of fresh cut grass to something as enormous as your undying love of your partners, family and or friends. It doesn’t matter in as much as you’re grateful for what you write down… anything goes.
- Do this every day, one new piece of paper with something to be thankful on. Everyone that helped with the creation of this new pot of wonders may also add their thankful notes. After time your jar will continue to grow with happy, positive and meaningful memories of things you love and are grateful for.
Doing this everyday will naturally encourage everyone involved to express meaningful gratitude and thankfulness allowing a better all-round well-being and collective happiness.
The best part of this exercise is that your gratitude jar will be out on show all the time and spark the curiosity of visitors, allowing you to start a very positive conversation from the get-go.
Even better if you find yourself having a challenging day, which we all do from time to time, all you need to do is take a few of the notes out and read them remembering the way you feel about these moments. If you have mutable family members involved it will be like having a lucky dip of thankfulness. It’s just like having a gratitude boost at your fingertips.
My Book of Thanks – What is a Gratitude Journal?
This excise is even easier than making your very own gratitude jar and can have the exact same effects. I personally have my own gratitude notebook. This is a great excise if you want your own special place to scribble your mind out on paper.
- 1 notebook, this doesn’t have to be a fancy notebook, yet if you’re going to make this a special place for all your thankful thoughts why not splash out a little.
- 1 very comfortable writing pen.
Note: why use pen and paper when we can just use a laptop, PC, tablet or phone? Well you can if you want but, from my opinion there is just something about writing on paper with a pen that makes it feel that much more solid, real and true.
- Get comfy, maybe with a cup of coffee or tea from your favourite mug, even get a little cheeky and treat yourself to a glass of wine.
- Take out your special notepad and pen.
- Take a moment and cast your mind back on your last couple of days even as far as a week and try to remember four to five moments that you were thankful and grateful for and jot them down in your notepad.
- Try to set a moment each week and commit to writing four to five things you have been grateful for in the past week.
Doing this enables you to reflect on past events within your last week and helps you to target the most enjoyable moments that have made you happy and grateful. You may feel that it might be better to this at the end of each day, just remember don’t force it. Some people may enjoy doing this everyday but for others it can feel like a task to complete and could cause distress making you feel it’s something you must do, which debunks the whole process of your gratitude journal.
Hence why we say to take a moment once a week. Believe it or not I reach out for my notebook as and when I feel I need to write, at times I may not touch my book for a couple of weeks but other days I may not put it down. Again, the choice is yours, it’s your journal, it’s your mind.
Every now and then it’s always nice to look back though your journal and recap on previous days and weeks. This is great for when you don’t really feel like writing but need a bit of a gratitude boost.
It’s Just a Rock isn’t it? – What is a Gratitude Stone?
This may feel a little odd and at times very silly, but this is one of my most favourite memory joggers. My gratitude stone has been with me from the beginning of my journey. Back in one of my earlier posts I mention I was in quite a bad place and one day I saw something in a bookshop window that jump started my positivity journey.
This led me to the concept of the gratitude stone. A gratitude stone is basically a stone, a simple stone picked up by you, it becomes a gratitude stone when you make it so.
- 1 stone,
- Find your Stone… As funny as it may sound when I went searching for my stone, I found it extremely difficult. I remember that each stone I picked up before I found the gratitude stone, I have today made me feel as if something didn’t feel quite right about each one. As weird as it sounds which ever stone you pick it needs to feel right.
- Remember you don’t want a stone too small that you may misplace, yet at the same time you don’t want it too big that it won’t fit nicely in your pocket.
- Make it mean something when you do finally pick your lucky gratitude stone. I finally found mine on a wonderful day out with my whole family. The weather was stunning, we had a lovely picnic and enjoyed the whole day in a beautiful nature reserve playing games and just having fun. The stone I picked on that day was unexpectedly infused with this whole day.
- Carry this stone with you always.
Please don’t laugh but this exercise has been extremely effective for me and my journey. And I believe it can do the same for you. It’s a physical anchor to that perfect moment in time, it is an everlasting moment that no one and nothing can ever take away from me.
Due to the imprint of that day I bestowed, the day I picked my gratitude stone, it has a profound effect on me each time I hold it and see it. I can remember times when I misplaced my stone and felt as if I had lost that perfect day.
The idea of a gratitude stone is to each time you hold it you imprint something you are grateful and thankful for on to it. My gratitude of that perfect day was so powerful for me that I have never imprinted anything else on to it, so each time I hold my gratitude stone I’m snapped back to that perfect day instantly.
This anchor that I have with my stone and the anchors you will make with your stones will help you overcome the most stressful and complicated of days with a simple touch. As you attached yourself to the things you are grateful for through your gratitude stone, you will produce an instant memorable path back to some of your greats moments you have been blessed to experience.
Attitude of Gratitude Quotes.
And finally, we’d like to give you a few quotes of gratitude you can take with you for the remainder of your thankful day.
Be kind and smile often.
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
Henri-Frédéric Amiel – Swiss philosopher
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Albert Schweitzer – Theologian
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.”
Rhonda Byrne – Australian television writer and producer
“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.”
Eckhart Tolle – Teacher
“When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears.”
Anthony Robbins – American author
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Brian Tracy – American Canadian public speaker