The power of gratitude is becoming more understood and you may have heard about it in self-help articles and on social media. Being grateful can make you feel more positive about life. If you make lists of the good things and focus on them, often you notice more – and attract more. Sometimes this is easier than others, however. When you need the healing power of gratitude the most, it may be farthest away. That’s when you need some strategies to bring the magic of gratitude back into your life.
Here we examine:
- Learning from earlier bad experiences
- Appreciating your good qualities
- Having ‘emotional prosperity’
- Step-by-step gratitude visualisation
LOOK BACK AT EARLIER BAD TIMES
Most of us have experienced heartbreak at some point. If you think back you will probably remember how awful it felt to lose someone you cared for deeply. But if that hadn’t happened maybe you wouldn’t now be with someone you are happy with, or have your children – or possibly your freedom.
Or there may have been a time when you didn’t get a job you hoped for, or a house, or some other opportunity. At the time it may have seemed the end of the world but chances are things worked out even better for you. In fact even if you still have regrets, there are sure to be some things in your life that you would not now have, if it weren’t for the earlier loss.
Reflecting on the past can make you feel grateful even for the bad times, and enable you to put present problems into perspective. In time you may well come to feel very grateful for these setbacks, for they may lead the way to something marvellous, even if you can’t now see this.
APPRECIATE YOUR OWN QUALITIES
Things may be tough and sometimes you may feel you can’t cope – but you do. Maybe you have courage – in fact you may be braver than you thought. Can you feel grateful for your courage?
Possibly you are resourceful. Even if you haven’t found a way out of your difficulties yet, you may be trying to come up with ideas. Could it be that adversity is bringing out your creativity?
Are you showing determination? Or patience? Maybe you are learning to laugh at misfortune, seeing the irony in your situation and noticing comical moments. You would probably far prefer not to have to find these resources within yourself now, but one things is for certain. Life moves on and you will not always feel bad. However, what you now develop and learn within yourself will stay with you forever.
Being grateful comes from concentrating on your gifts. It certainly is not about pretending everything’s fine when it isn’t, or telling yourself you shouldn’t feel sad, upset or angry. Being grateful doesn’t mean you try to suppress feelings. It does mean connecting with a deeper level of your heart so you can see that life is rich.
Even in the midst of tragedy there are blessings. Do you have a roof over your head? Friends and family to support you? An interesting occupation? Books, films and social media to entertain you? Warmth and food? The freedom to go out and breathe the open air? Eyes to look at a dazzling sunset or a delicate flower? Ears to hear lovely music? Legs to walk and dance, hands and arms to touch and hold? Hope for the future…… The list goes on, and you are sure to have at least some of these.
Try to focus on what you do have. Soon you will have even more blessings to count.
YOUR GRATITUDE TRAINING STEP-BY-STEP
This is a guided visualisation to take you through the stages to gratitude:
- Find a quiet place where you’ll be left alone and make sure you can’t be disturbed by anything or anyone, including phone and pets
- Settle comfortably and become aware of your breathing – gentle and rhythmical
- Relax totally. Keep directing your attention up and down your body, dissolving any spots of tension and sending loving acceptance to any part that’s uncomfortable
- Think back to a tough time in your life – really bring it to mind
- See yourself finding your way through it, struggling and learning
- Now bring yourself back to your present self and see how you have changed
- Ask yourself what the gift and positive outcome has been. What knowledge or quality have you acquired because of it?
- Appreciate this and let your gratitude for it start to blossom
- When you are ready come back to the here-and-now. Touch your palms to the floor
- Write down anything you’ve realised in a Gratitude book
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve learnt the importance of looking back with awareness, appreciating your qualities, developing an ‘emotional prosperity’ mindset and taken the ‘Gratitude Training’ step by step.
PUBLISHED: 13 February 2018