Or is this new to you? How can gratitude rewire your brain?
Gratitude is that small moment when something is going right in your life and you notice it. You know when you’re walking down the street with a smile on your face and think to yourself, “hmm, this is nice”. It really is that simple.
My favourite gratitude pastime is to sit at my window and watch the birds. I’m so grateful I get to see them enjoying their little lives.
Gratitude is about enjoying what you have, who you have, where you have. It’s acknowledging that although you may not have everything you hope for in life, when you look around you there is lots in your life that you’re pleased to have around. And of course, there is lots in your life that you’d be particularly distressed about if they were no longer a part of it.
Such a strong statement and yet one I hear all too often. Did you know, if you say something enough times you will wholeheartedly believe it is absolute truth. Of course, there are times in life when life feels shockingly difficult and every day is one challenge after another. Yet, there continues to be people or objects or moments in your life that you are grateful for.
Okay, so let’s get right back down to basics. Yes, we are talking the roof over your head. Of course, that’s something to be hugely grateful for, even if it isn’t exactly what you want, its hugely more satisfying than having no roof at all. Water, hot water. Have you ever had your water turned off unexpectedly, woah! I never knew how much I relied on it! Family. Okay, I admit, sometimes family are far more difficult than what you had imagined when you watched Disney films growing up, but most of them you’d like to continue having as a part of your life.
In my last job I had a 20-mile commute and one day I had a meeting I wasn’t looking forward to so I decided that instead of spending my whole journey fixated on the meeting I would look for flowers. And that’s what I did! I kept my eyes on the road but at the same time just looked out for flowers along my commute. I was gobsmacked as there were loads and loads and loads of flowers in places I didn’t expect to see them too. I’d done this commute for almost three years and this was the first time I had seen them. I was so grateful for them that day, it completely took my mind away from my worries.
So, I’ve given you some examples of how no matter what you have going on there’s still ways in which you can find gratitude in your day but why would you want to use gratitude to rewire your brain? How on earth would it benefit you? Well, I’ll let you in to a little secret. Studies have shown that when you use gratitude journaling in a variety of formats participants report feeling in abetter mood, being able to cope with life changing events and daily challenges and they score overall far better on quality of life questionnaires than people who don’t use gratitude in their lives.
For more information on how to write a gratitude journal take a look at my blog on gratitude journaling here.
The latest studies say that if you can do it every day for three weeks, that’s when you’ll start to see results. Don’t forget though when we talk about gratitude we mean real gratitude. We don’t mean “yesterday did you hear xxx say that awful thing? I’m so grateful I’m not her friend anymore”. That is absolutely not what we mean. When we talk gratitude, we mean something that makes you feel good, not something that has your inner chimp running around like a gossiping Gina.
Let me know in the comments, what are you grateful for today?
My new book Sparkling Moments 30 Days of amazing is just 99p on Amazon. If you’re struggling with ideas on how to lift your mood in easy and achievable ways this is perfect for you. It’s light reading, easy to digest, and broken down so that you can easily fit it into your everyday routine, no matter how stressful or busy your day is.