"Why can’t you be more grateful? It’s likely at some point you’ve heard this remark from a parent, grandparent or have even uttered these words to a child yourself. (Or even worse, a partner!) Our need to see gratitude in others is a huge part of us seeing that person also as a loving, caring person..."
The Power of Gratitude
Why can’t you be more grateful? It’s likely at some point you’ve heard this remark from a parent, grandparent or have even uttered these words to a child yourself. (Or even worse, a partner!) Our need to see gratitude in others is a huge part of us seeing that person also as a loving, caring person.
Having gratitude helps us to enjoy life more. It can break through huge barriers and reduce our stress loads, give us more confidence and help us to meet our goals- no matter how big they may be.
There is now doubt that being grateful goes a long way. It’s just how to be grateful in times of stress or when suffering from disappointment or sadness that’s difficult.
All you Need to do is Breathe
Often we get caught up in a vicious cycle of if only. If only the job came through, then weld be grateful, if only the kids were better behaved, then we’d say thanks, if only I could lose that extra ten pounds, get that guy to notice me, find a million dollars under my pillow…if only, if only, if only..
The problem with if only is that if and when the if only happens, we often just move onto the next thing we want to get without stopping to say thanks. Or we focus so much on that hopeful if only, we forget to recognize all the other things we have in our lives to be thankful for.
So let’s start with the basics…right here, right now. There is so much each of us has to be grateful for. We just often forget to focus on the good bits.
Sit quietly. Take a large breathe into your lungs. Let it fill you up completely. Don’t let any of it out. Take a few top up breathes. Feel the sensation if it fill your body. Breathe until you cannot fill yourself anymore.
Now hold it in. Feel the sensation of it feeling all tight inside your body. It may feel slightly uncomfortable. It may feel like you are about to burst.
Then let the air out. Let it rush out, then push the last amount out completely until there is nothing left.
The Give of Being able to Breathe
How did it feel when you were finally allowed to release the air? Good? Like a release?
If you are struggling to find anything to be grateful for at all, start with your breath. It gives us oxygen, our chief nutrient for our body. Without it we cannot survive. It reminds us we are alive. And that alone is an outstanding thing to be thankful for.
The drive to survive is far stronger than anything else. Your world may be crashing down around you, with creditors calling, relationships failing, and stress overload. But if you have breath, if you are alive, you are at a point where you can overturn all of that and start again.
Try the exercise again. Do it several times in a row, taking in slow breaths then releasing it slowly with that pause in the middle. Try it with your eyes closed and let it still you.
Have gratitude for your ability to breathe.
And After We Breathe? Then What?
Gratitude can change our lives hugely. But first we need to take a look at where we are right now. In fact we possibly need to do a little navel gazing, and let it all hang out a little.
Often we are not honest about what parts of life we don’t feel grateful in. We know we’re meant to be thankful and we don’t want to admit that we’re not. It all feels a little naughty.
So spend some time taking a little look inside your life over a range of areas.
Make a little list. Think about the following and come up with one chief thing you are not thankful for about it (if there is one), and one chief thing you ARE thankful for (if you can).
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