The gratitude connection - Nourish: plant-based living
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The gratitude connection

Gratitude is certainly a buzzword in the wellbeing space, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be? In short, yes!

Gratitude is the act of being thankful and showing appreciation. Actively practising gratitude is consciously giving thought to the good in your life. Over time, this can reframe your thinking to tune into and appreciate all the small moments of joy that come your way.

IT’S A CHANGE IN FOCUS

It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in our lives. Historically, this served us well. However, we have no need to be on the lookout for lions and tigers and bears any more. We want to do more than just survive; we want to thrive.

When we use gratitude consistently, we train ourselves to seek out the heart-warming moments, and before you know it, dwelling on the low parts of your day will be a thing of the past.

We can be grateful for many aspects of our lives. Perhaps it’s your family and friends, your home, or a small moment in your day that made you laugh. We can show gratitude towards nature, fresh air, and even access to nourishing food, clean water, education, or the internet. The choice is yours.

Let’s start that list right now. What are you grateful for today?

HOLD UP, DON’T OVERSIMPLIFY IT!

Practising gratitude can be life changing but, like anything worthwhile, you have to work at it. There is a tendency to boil the practice of gratitude down to listing three relatively random things that you have in your life. Within a few seconds, you’ve compiled your list and you’re expecting dramatic changes to occur. It’s not quite that simple.

A profound gratitude practice needs to be meaningful to you. It requires conscious engagement with what you are truly grateful for, and you’ll need to be consistent. What good things have happened today or in your life? Can you find the good in an otherwise bad situation and reframe the experience in way that focuses on how it might serve you?

THE ART OF GRATITUDE

Here are three simple yet extremely effective ways you can start practising now.

1. Three moments

• Reflect on your day
• Choose three moments that brought you joy
• Allow yourself to be grateful for those moments
• Share your moments with your family

Some days you will struggle to find one moment, other days you will find many. The magic of this practice lies within the sharing of your moments. This not only allows you to be grateful for the big or small moments in your day but amplifies your positive emotions. It’s a win-win.

2. Gratitude messages

Leave notes of appreciation around your home for members of your family to find. You can place them in lunch boxes, on the back of doors, or even write them on a mirror. Kids and adults alike will love finding surprise messages around the house, and when they are notes of gratitude, it’s even better.

A simple text message to a friend or family member expressing gratitude is another perfect way to increase your connection to each other. We often think wonderful thoughts about our loved ones, but we might not always tell them. This is your chance to share!

3. Best of the worst

When you experience something negative, think of three good things that could come from this moment. Allow yourself time to process the negative event in anyway you need to, but later in the day, use this practice to reframe your thoughts in a helpful way.

When we learn to look for the good painful experiences and can even feel gratitude for them, we have truly experienced the power of gratitude.

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The best kind of gratitude practice shouldn’t leave you feeling over extended or overwhelmed, it should easily slide into your routine and make your day sparkle just a little more. Be consistent, give it time, and watch as gratitude creates an upward spiral of positivity in your life.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

This article is an edited extract from Nourish: plant-based living, Vol. 8 no. 7 - View Magazine
Emilly Sonsie

Emilly is an educator and mother.

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