Living with a ‘lockdown’ can be hard. And feeling gratitude whilst you’re in the middle of it might be a tough ask. But luckily for us there’s still plenty to be grateful for.
Feeling gratitude in tough times doesn’t have to require time and effort. You don’t need a gratitude journal, you don’t need to carve out a particular time to practice gratitude or sit in silent gratitude meditations. Although all of these are wonderful practices.
Right now, feeling the need to do more or be better, even with something as wonderful as a little more gratitude, might turn it into more of a burden than a blessing. Truth be told simply being open to the awareness of the blessings in life and recognizing that there are no ordinary moments is all we need
And since there is more and more scientific evidence that gratitude matters maybe we should take a minute to look at why.
The energy of gratitude
Gratitude, like all emotions, has an energetic signature.
Who hasn’t felt the energy of someone who was angry and upset. Or the energy of creativity that sometimes we’re lucky enough to bounce into. Often more by accident than design in my case!
And we know what it feels like to be enveloped in the warm glow of someone who genuinely cares about us.
Different emotions emit different energetic signatures which can be sensed and felt by others. And more importantly when we move into an elevated emotion like joy, love or gratitude our bodies feel it. It’s good for our health, both emotional and physical.
Tough times are made easier when we can turn our more primitive survival emotions into elevated emotions like gratitude. Feeling gratitude, even for a few minutes will uplift you from the weight of worry that might be weighing you down.
And no, we can’t be expected to feel grateful all the time. Unless you’re a saint perhaps. And if this happens to be you please give me a call, I’d love to chat with you about how you manage it!
Gratitude might be good for us and we might know this is so, but sometimes it’s just too hard to muster the feeling so here’s fifteen simple things you can be grateful for – fifteen tiny treasures that are easy to focus on.
Gratitude: 15 Things To Be Grateful for And Why It Matters
1.A comfortable chair and maybe a nap on those cozy days when the rain never stops and the sun has forgotten to show its face.
2. Getting lost in a good book. Research tells us that reading can give us a wonderful sense of belonging that most people intuitively need. And I don’t know about you, but I can never get enough of a good read and a big cup of tea.
3. Your most favourite comfort food. I’ve just gone through my ‘cake period’ when a slice of cake a day made my day. Maybe it’s mac’n cheese for you. Whatever your choices are, it always tastes better when the day feels bad.
4. Your favourite scent. Be it the smell of cookies baking or, in our house, essential oil diffusers going full blast. There’s just something uplifting about it. Plus, certain aromas even benefit your well-being. The love affair between the things that smell good to us is too beautiful to pass by.
5. Your mobile phone. For all the negative thoughts about cell phones, they can connect our universe. I think it’s great that we can all easily stay in touch with friends and family at any time, and especially now when we have loved ones we want to check up on
6. Your home. For a place to lay your head, weary from worry. The place where love lives and memories are made. And for some of us the person who is home to us.
7. Kindness. Is always legal and never has a negative side effect and you won’t overdose on it. I’m not suggesting you do something for someone here. After all didn’t I just say having a gratitude ‘to do’ list can be more of a burden than a blessing? Instead take a minute to luxuriate in all the treasures of kindnesses others have bestowed upon you.
8. Entertainment. Some people say they would rather take their dog for a walk than settle themselves in for a period of entertainment. Not me. Dog walking is great. Fresh air is great. Netflix, Amazon, Britbox whatever your choice, for me streaming my favourite shows is great too. Everything has its time and place in life.
9. Air conditioning. Being able to stay cool on a hot humid day, like it is for us today, or warm when those winter winds whip the hat off your head, is worth a nod of gratitude.
10. Laughter. There’s nothing quite like a large dose of laughter to lift your spirits and add to your sense of wellbeing. Laughter is food for the soul. A sound that reminds us that life is worth living. I’m reminded of the story of the woman who was fed up with constantly feeling ill and decided that laughter was her best medicine. And every day she’d set out to laugh. Even though the laughter was often forced to begin with, we know it’s contagious and pretty soon she’d be genuinely laughing. Before too long her ill health disappeared.
11. Stars. I’m a regular star gazer. It doesn’t matter that sometimes I can only find one star in the sky…even one star has the ability to make me dream. I’m with Thoreau when he said: “When I consider how, after sunset, the stars come out gradually in troops from behind the hills and woods, I confess that I could not have contrived a more curious and inspiring sight.” Beautiful.
12. A good night’s sleep. Okay maybe this is normal for you, but for many of us actually getting anywhere close to that magical number of hours that allow us to wake refreshed and raring to go is…well a rarity. Sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing and a decent night’s sleep can make all the difference to our day. It’s definitely something to be grateful for.
13. Rainbows. It’s been said that into every life a little rain must fall, and for some of us a lot of rain has fallen. But rainbows! Wow they never fail to bring a smile no matter how severe the storm has been. They are nature’s optimists, reminding us that the sun is still shining and life’s storms are not the end of the story
14. Good news. Okay, I know good news is a bit sparse lately. That’s why every little teeny tiny bit of it should be celebrated with gratitude. So look for those little slivers of good news that raises its head amongst the morass of doom and gloom we face on a regular basis. And when you find it, share it.
15. Nature. A cool morning walk, for those of us who can leave our homes. That inrush of fresh air, the sound of birds and the warm sun (perhaps) on your face, the rustle of the breeze in the trees and I wonder “if that’s not enough to feel some happiness, what is?”
16. You. I know this is extra, but this is one I am grateful for. That you are here, that you are safe and that you will stay well.
All you need to bring forth an attitude of gratitude is a little awareness. No-one puts it quite so elegantly as Thich Nhat Hanh: “Awareness is like the sun, when it shines on things they are transformed.”
And bringing the elevated frequency of gratitude into your world through simple awareness is a gift that will radiate blessings over your life and the life of others. It comes highly recommended.
Encourage one another.