GRATITUDE: Counting my Blessings
An ‘attitude of gratitude’ can raise our happiness index and sense of well-being. A few months ago, I made a decision to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, to count my blessings and keep a written record of them. The act of gratitude allowed me to savour the present moment and things such as:
- Really appreciating the aroma, smell, taste of good quality coffee
- Being grateful for a good heart-to-heart chat with a friend and for belly laughter
- Being satisfied that work that is well done or feels complete
- Connecting with my body, surroundings, the air and the ground beneath my feet while walking.
Gratitude also connected me with the natural world. This is possibly one of the easiest things to be grateful for. It allowed me to sharpen my focus, awaken my senses and drink in beauty. I was grateful for
- Noticing marigolds and the splash of yellow sunshine in a greenhouse
- Connecting with the glory of autumn, the trees in their autumnal beauty, in colours of red, yellow, amber, orange, speckled sycamore, gold and brown.
- Sunlight streaming through the window
- A magical rainbow over a lake and it’s mirror image on the lake
- The sound and babble of streams and brooks hurriedly making their way to the lapping waters of the lake
Logging gratitude entries made me aware of the sanctuary of my home, the comfort of heat, the glow of a fire, my sound system, the energy and buzz of being surrounded by good company, sharing a meal with friends and family, the spirit of togetherness.
Watching television made me aware of all the things I took for granted: That as a woman I lived in a free society; that I had food and shelter; that I did not live in fear of violence; that I had a job and qualifications that offered security; that my body was in perfect working order.
In addition, I became aware of all the catastrophes that I narrowly escaped: Death in an earthquake Japan in 1995; relationships that would not have worked; unemployment and narrowly escaping being stabbed in a bar.
Gratitude allowed me to pay attention to small details: To notice the linen napkin on a table; to compliment a smile or acts of kindness; to notice even the smallest things like the way the Costa coffee girl remembers I like skinny milk.
Even when we feel that our whole lives have gone pear-shaped – focusing on gratitude allows us to shift away from self-pity. Gratitude allows us to look up instead of looking down. Gratitude allows us to count our blessings, place a small smile on our hearts, mouths and eyes, despite the backdrop!