Embracing Gratitude In The Everyday For 2017
I want to open a new year on this blog with something positive. One of many things the wrath of 2016 has hammered home is that life is precious, gratitude should be a daily practice and hate doesn’t dispel hate. I don’t want to be a part of the vicious cycle of reacting to the evil of this world with more hate and anger. Not only does it fuel the fire but I worry for the person I’d become because of it.
I’ve learnt this year that we do ourselves a disservice by letting negativity overshadow the positive. Don’t belittle the good in your life, what you’re grateful for and what you’ve achieved. I’m not saying the solution is to solely live on a cloud with fairies, rainbows and unicorns but to find balance and pull yourself out of darkness with love and support.
2016 taught me that the term “blissful ignorance” is worrying. Being ignorant isn’t blissful. It’s dangerous. Whether it’s our own ignorance or being surround by it, it leads to conflict on larger scales. Before this turns into an essay wishing the world to help heal itself, I wanted to share some thoughts on gratitude.
I want 2017 to be the year of fully embracing gratitude and having the positive effects of that reflect in all aspects of my life and in my attitude towards people and things that I both like and dislike.
Ways to embrace gratitude in your daily life
- Say thank you more, aloud. Sometimes, a smile and a nod is more than enough of a thank you. For holding open a door or moving bags off a seat so someone can sit down. But saying the words aloud can make such a difference to you and the person you’re saying it to.
- Keep a gratitude log. I started doing this in my bullet journal. Simply writing down one thing every day that I was grateful for. You could start this in a separate journal if you wanted to elaborate or even just stop and think about it for a moment at night or first thing in the morning and keep that thought with you for as long as you can throughout the day.
- Be specific. Of course, on a larger scale we’d say we are grateful for our friends, family, the house we live in, the clothes we have but they’re all things we end up taking for granted because they feel like our baseline. I’ve found that being specific on what I’m grateful for helps. And it can be the smallest most abstract thing but it gives you the chance to be more present in the good moments.
- Accept that which you cannot change, learn from mistakes and don’t suppress negative situations or emotions. Finding balance is difficult but only starts to work when you accept life is both positive and negative. For example, look back over the last year and think about how many hardships you’ve overcome. It’s not always about expressing gratitude for the good things in your life. Appreciating the hurdles you’ve climbed over and demons you’ve fought can empower you and help encourage others.
- Don’t be alone. One thing I want to change in 2017, is the amount of time I spend on my own, at a desk. Whether it’s friends, family, colleagues or otherwise, spend time with others and connect. And yes, I’m going to say hugging animals counts in this too.
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*Top image is a stock photo