Gratitude – another self-help tool?

The word ‘Gratitude’ seems to be on everyone's lips these days. It is being packaged as the latest self-help tool, the same way ‘Abundance’, ‘Manifestation’ and  ‘Mindfulness’ have been, and there are even apps for them that you can buy.  I am sure you’ve all seen “The Secret”, and found it didn’t work.

There is a huge industry out there just waiting for you – to sell you that latest app or self-help tool.  People are searching for something, a sense of purpose in life, balance and harmony.  It cannot be bought.  Most do not realise that the answer lies within and simple steps can be applied to improve both quality and outlook on life.

Many people have difficulty with the word ‘gratitude’. Life can be harsh and unforgiving so what is there to be grateful for.  In this materialistic world, happiness is equated with possessions, standing in the community, your monetary sense of self-worth, when you have these you feel you have a reason to be grateful. 

How many times have you heard someone say – I’ll be happy when… always looking for that ‘pot of gold’ at the end of the rainbow whilst missing the joy and simple beauty of things right under their nose.

It is so easy to overlook the fundamental things in life, the ones that we all take for granted. The obvious ones are health, family and even friends.  When was the last time you were grateful what you have?

When we were growing up we gave thanks before our meals, an intrinsic part of childhood but taught us respect for our food. We respected nature, nurtured it and celebrated the bounty at harvest festivals. 

Gratitude is really quite simple it is the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return a kindness.  An appreciation of what you have – not dwelling on what you have not.

Some things to be grateful for – the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of a full moon in a star lit sky, the unconditional love of your dog…or cat, the smile of a neighbour and watching the first flowers of spring brighten the gardens and window boxes.  Look for the quirky in life, in quirky - there is often strange beauty.

To bring more gratitude and thankfulness into your life, keep a daily journal; jot down each day what you have to be thankful for.  Each day your list will get longer.  Be in the present, the now, don’t brood about the past – it has gone, there is nothing you can change.  Don’t worry about the future, it hasn’t arrived yet, the most important time is now and appreciate all that you have.  The more you do this, the more positive you will become and a new sense of joy and appreciation will suffuse your life.

You may not have the power to change the world, but you have the power to change your perception of it.  So remember the song from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” – “Always look on the bright side of life”, and you cannot go far wrong!

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