When you start to bring gratitude into your life on a daily basis, you begin to value your life as it IS. It can be a challenge because you’re changing a sometimes deeply-ingrained pattern and installing a habit. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well but this isn’t about expressing gratitude for the extraordinary moments, it’s about finding gratitude in the ordinary things that are around you, the things that you take for granted and forget to notice.
So don’t look for gratitude in the extraordinary moments – keep it simple. For example, I’m sipping a cup of tea while I write this article. I’m grateful for the warmth in my hands, the delicious taste of the tea. I’m grateful that I have electricity to boil the kettle. I’m grateful for running water to fill the kettle…
From inadequacy to abundance
Often we are only aware of the obstacles in our life, rather than all the ways that our lives are made easier for us. But when we move from only seeing what’s missing in our lives and start to consistently focus on the things that we value, we can actually start to change our perception from the glass being half empty to the glass being half full.
When we move from only seeing what’s missing in our lives and start to consistently focus on the things that we value, we can actually start to change our perception from the glass being half empty to the glass being half full.
You may know the story already: a little boy is asked by his mother to fetch a can of olive oil but halfway home the boy trips and falls. When he gets home he cries to his mother –
“Mama, I got the oil you asked for but I fell over on the way home and I’m so sorry but I lost half of the oil…”
The next day his twin brother is sent to fetch the olive oil and he also trips in the same place but when he gets home says to his mother –
“Mama, you’ll never believe what happened to me – I collected the oil but on the way back I had a nasty fall too, but I stillhave half of the olive oil – look at that!”
So whilst the first brother only noticed what was missing, the second focused on what was still there.
You attract what you focus on
Research shows when you start focusing on the positive you start seeing more and more of that around you. Just like when you’re trying to get pregnant or you are pregnant, all you see are other pregnant women: you attract what you focus on in your life.
So if you focus on the inadequacies, all you see is what’s missing but when you focus on what’s good in your life, you begin to notice everything that’s positive. And the best news is, if you keep practising, you begin to see more and more of the good!
Becoming aware of the ‘simple’ things in our lives – a hot shower, a safe bed, being able to watch the birds in the garden, someone making you a cup of tea, the sunrise in the morning, waking up to a brand new day (and don’t forget, for many people, these things may actually be luxuries) …then we start to notice the abundance of things we have to be grateful for.
We all know that happiness cannot be dependant on external circumstances – it comes from within. So when life becomes tough and things are outside of your control, you can either start to wait until your external circumstances change (because of course everything is easier when things are going well) or you can start to look inside.
Practising gratitude on a daily basis is a shortcut and a very direct tool towards happiness – and to the present moment – because there is always something to be grateful for right here, right now.
9 simple ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis