Picture this – a version of you that has no expectations of the future and no disappointments from the past.
This version of you is grounded in gratitude of the plenitude that exists in your life. This version 2.0 of you knows that wherever you are in life is exactly where you are meant to be and whoever you are now is exactly who you are supposed to be. That everything about the present moment is worthy of appreciation because today is a mosaic of all that happened yesterday – the good, the bad, the amazing, and the ugly – and today is a prelude to tomorrow’s infinite possibilities.
Enormous amounts of research on the science of well-being show a high correlation between mental health and gratitude. The effects of gratitude include more fulfilling relationships, better sleep, greater resilience to adverse situations and stronger immune systems.
Why or how does this work? Here’s a little visual to help put all this together: our mental health is the engine that drives how we feel (about what we do) and what we do (about how we feel). Practising gratitude is like oiling the engine that keeps this process running efficiently!
In essence, practising gratitude enables us to act and feel with awareness and intention.
The best way to understand this is to try it out – here are some techniques that can help kick start your gratitude journey:
Daily Reflectional Gratitude Practice
Take the time to journal things that happened in the day that you are grateful for in your life. If you are struggling to find the words, simply start the sentence as “Today I am grateful for” and let your stream of consciousness follow.
On days that are more difficult, it’s important to not stop your practice. I would recommend journaling a minimum of three things daily to ensure that you are actively searching in your mind for the good that exists in your world.
Slowly but surely, as you get habitual with this, you’ll find yourself mentally filing away amazing moments to journal later in the day. Journaling one amazing moment enables us to savor the joy for a minimum of 3 times — once when we experience it, second when we mentally file it away, third when we journal it, and many more times when we revisit our journal entries!
Five Senses Radical Gratitude Practice
Engage each of your five senses one at a time by taking the time to thread in your appreciation with your observation.
For example, take the sense of “sight” while you’re out for a walk — we tend to look past what our brain deems are usual sights. The goal of this exercise is to break the habits of looking beyond the ordinary and bringing out the extraordinary instead.
Observe with intention and find beauty in the way that something exists – the sway of a branch, the veins of a leaf, the intricate details of a flower’s petals, the soft wisps of a cloud, the splash of a single raindrop – and just live with this sight. Breathe through the beauty that is front of you and let the magic of the moment unravel within you.
Finish the experience by giving thanks to that moment before moving on. Continue doing this for a smell, a touch, a taste and a sound.
The techniques are simple and effective. Keep trying the above or other techniques, until you find something that works for you and enjoy yourself along the way! This experience of self-discovery is a fun one!
Stay humble for all that you have, be thankful for all that you get and share your gratitude unconditionally. Remember that 2.0 version of yourself that you were picturing earlier on – that version of you that is grounded in the plenitude that exists in your life? That is a mere gratitude practice away.