Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter

Gratitude is the best Attitude

14 Comments

One of my first experiences of gratitude really turning my life around was when I was very ill with ME/CFS.  I couldn’t leave my bed most of the time let alone the house.  I became very lonely, isolated, and quite negative and was starting to get very depressed again.  I read a book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman that made me realise I was making myself worse by thinking this way.  I learned that I needed to live more in the ‘now’ and learn to appreciate and be grateful what I could do, and did have.  Focusing my time and energy on what I couldn’t do was a complete waste of my precious energy; it doesn’t get you anywhere apart from further down the slippery negativity slope.  So I started to sit at my window instead of in bed and when I could I’d sit in the garden.  I started to notice so much more around me.  I realised I’d had blinkers on before I got really ill, because I was always busy rushing around doing ‘important’ things and not noticing what a beautiful world I lived in.

As a child I had been taught all about nature, the Planet and our environment, but somewhere along the line I’d lost my connection with it, or should I say I’d just plain stopped noticing it was even there, even though it was right there, right in front of me!

When I started sitting at my window and noticing the birds, animals, insects and even the trees, I became quite overwhelmed by how much of this amazing world I had been missing out on.  It was right there in my garden and my street.  I would sit for hours watching the birds and the squirrels coming and going in the garden and how the garden changed throughout the seasons.  This in turn meant that I started to notice more about what was going on inside my home as well as outside.  I became so grateful for everything and everyone in my life and although I wasn’t fit enough to do the things I used to do, I was honestly so grateful for what I could do, see and notice now and if anything I felt a little sad I’d been walking around with blinkers on for so long.

It’s amazing what a small shift in thinking can do to our overall pleasure from life.  I couldn’t do any more than I could the day, week, or year before but I gained so much more from my life.  I saw pleasant things and little miracles happening every single day that I just hadn’t noticed before.  Nothing else had changed, only my perspective and WOW! what a difference that had made.

So here’s a little gratitude experiment:

What are you grateful for today? Not what you can’t do, haven’t got, wish you could change.  What are you actually grateful for in your life right now?  I sometimes have people say things like ‘there’s nothing good in my life to be grateful for’ but if you start small and work your way up you’ll find it easier.  This could be health, love, family, pets, time, space, warmth, friendship, nature, peace, the ability to read, work, food, your hair, your smile, the smile of a friend, the lessons you’ve learned or any of the other amazing things, little or large that are happening in your day-to-day life.

Write down at least 21 things you’re grateful for.  Get into a habit of doing this daily (you can list less than 21 things each day if you find this easier).  Instead of listing off all the things you see as negative in your life, list the positive.  I know this seems like a silly little experiment, but trust me on this; it forms new habits, new pathways in the brain and a whole new perspective on your life!

You could write these down in on your phone or computer, in your notebook, on scraps of paper in a gratitude jar (and empty the jar to read these once a year) or you could get one of the many really lovely gratitude journals out there.  There are even beautiful children’s versions of these journals.  They can draw and write what they are grateful for, installing happy, positive habits, memories and keepsakes in your children about gratitude from a young age and having fun whilst doing it.

The final little titbit for this chapter: It’s great to get into the habit of listing what you’re grateful for, just before bed as it promotes the release of happy, relaxing and sleep inducing chemicals in the body and actually helps you to drift off into a much more peaceful and relaxing sleep. Winner!

Would any of you care to share what you’re grateful for today in the comments section below?

Here’s some links to some more Gratitude pages out there:

Why living a life of gratitude can make you happy

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude Log

365 Grateful

Why gratitude is good for you

Gratitude

14 thoughts on “Gratitude is the best Attitude

  1. I love this post Faith and I agree 100%! Sometimes, when I can’t think of things to be grateful for I just attempt to write 3 things. Then usually I think of one more thing, and then another, and so it goes on until I end up with a long list. Today I am grateful for spending a lovely day helping a charity I have got involved with. It meant I got to spend time with three old bears who were rescued from a circus – how wonderful is that!

  2. (Tried leaving a comment before but it didn’t seem to send…sorry if you get multiples of this!) I love this. I use my iPhone as my alarm clock, so I’ve labeled my 5am wake-up call “Gratitude changes everything” so I’ll see it and start every day off with grateful heart. I often forget to write my list out before bed, so this is a nice peaceful daily reminder. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It’s such a simple thing and yet so powerful! Today I am grateful for a good internet connection, clean sheets on my bed for tonight, a clean bathroom, birds singing and really good dried dates!

  4. Faith I agree gratitude is the best attitude! I started my gratitude journal with a friend last fall 2013 after we attended a seminar here in Kansas City by MK Mueller Founder of 8 to Great. She challenged us to write 3 daily gratitude’s with NO repeats. We like to reflect back on our day and write ours in the evening. It really makes you think back on your day and it can be challenging to have no repeats! Today I am grateful for a body that can move freely, sunshine and my free dose of vitamin D and healthy dinner of zucchini and lemon slices stir-fry

    • Oh I like the sounds of that seminar, super!
      I’ve just decided to set up a Facebook group called Infinite Gratitude, where we can all share what we are grateful for. I did the 100 happy days challenge recently and found sharing really helped with happiness, so I’m adopting the same principle with Gratitude now.

  5. So true Faith gratitude is the best attitude! After attending a seminar last fall 2013 I reflect back on my day and write 3 gratitude’s with NO repeats. Really make you think! Today I am grateful for a body that can move freely, sunshine with a free dose of vitamin D and healthy dinner of zucchini and lemon slices stir fry!

  6. This is a lovely blog Faith. Gratitude comes in so many different forms doesn’t it. I am so grateful every day of my life for the peace I have been able to find in my heart and in my mind, after losing my lovely mum and my lovely son within two years of each other a few years ago. Thank you for asking me to join your ‘Gratitude’ page xx

  7. Pingback: Gratitude is the best Attitude | Edinblogs

  8. Pingback: The lowdown on being happy | A Mother's DaughterA Mother's Daughter

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