“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Ah, Piglet. He’s definitely a favourite storybook character – and in this quote he shows us that we are very similar to him. It’s amazing how the heart works isn’t it? In the grand scale of things, our hearts are not all that big, they are a small but VERY important part of us and we can indeed hold a whole lot of gratitude in them.
I think it’s really important to take a moment each day to say thank you for the good things that have happened. It’s not at all hard. Stopping to be grateful is really worth it for the reminder you give yourself of all the good things that have happened that day. Maybe it wasn’t as bad a day as you thought. “Gratitude encompasses the willingness to expand our attention so that we perceive more of the goodness we are always receiving.“
A great thing to do is when something good happens to write it down somewhere so you can look at it later – or write about the things you’re grateful for at the end of the day. So during the day you could add things like:
- successful phone call
- sent all my emails!
- spoke to my Dad
- drafted my newsletter
- got a new client
- great testimonial from X
- lunch was really tasty
- the sun shone
- met five new people at the networking event this morning
Looking back over that list at the end of the day and the following morning will help you realise what a great day you’ve had and motivate you for the next day!
Some people swear by a gratitude journal, popping things in your diary, just writing on the back of an envelope – do whatever works for you. I like to list ten things I’m grateful for each day. More if it’s a bad day. It’s nice to look back over the months or the year too, you can track your progress and be reminded of good things!
Another great thing about gratitude is not simply having it, but showing it. Saying thank you isn’t just good manners, it makes people happy. When you do something for someone and they say thank you, doesn’t it make you feel good? Think of the people who’ve helped you lately – have you said thank you? It might just be a tweet, or you might feel that their efforts are worthy of a handwritten card or a box of chocolates. Whatever you do, you’ll be sure to help someone feel really great because you took the time to appreciate them.
Benefits of gratitude
Being grateful has many benefits – one of these is that it’s really, really good for your health! Check out this article to read about how gratitude “can improve sleep, mood and immunity.” The article says to focus on one thing that makes you happy to stave off difficult emotions. I’m almost done re-reading The Prisoner of Azkaban with my son and this had me imagining when Harry Potter conjures a Patronus whilst thinking about a happy feeling – gratitude is like a Patronus, not keeping Dementors away, but keeping those difficult emotions at bay for as long as you’re feeling that gratitude.
This article lists 32 benefits of being grateful – how amazing is that?! These cover physical and mental health, spiritual, emotional, psychological, social, emotional and work benefits. A handful of these include:
- sleeping better
- lower blood pressure
- pain tolerance
- managing grief
- astrengthening relationships
- decision making
It doesn’t matter how small you feel you are, you can still hold a large amount of gratitude. Don’t forget to stay thankful, be grateful and show your appreciation – you’ll be happier, make others happier and sleep better as a result. Wonderful.
What or who are you thankful for right now?