I’ve read a lot about the benefits of practicing gratitude, such as improved physical health, improved psychological health, and better sleep, but I’ve struggled to understand what it really means to practice gratitude. What does that look like in my life?
Last year, I bought a daily journal and one of the questions it asks is “For what are you truly grateful?” I looked back over some recent entries and, honestly, I did not find them very inspiring! I realized being asked for an on-demand list just did not prompt feelings of genuine gratitude or appreciation. Even the phrase “truly grateful” seems so serious and added feelings of pressure, as though, if I’m not “truly” grateful, I’m not practicing gratitude the right way.
It made me wonder, “can’t we be just a little bit grateful?” What does “grateful” really mean?
So, I did what so many would do when faced with such an important question - I googled it! The first few synonyms I found for gratitude included, “thankfulness,” “appreciation,” and “pleased.” I was still not feeling inspired until I noticed “recognition,” and I felt a little light bulb switch on in my heart.
I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve decided this is what the practice of gratitude means to me: the act of noticing the good things in life, no matter how small they are. For me, there is no need for complicated rituals and expensive journals. It can be as simple as recognising my own happiness in a moment – the sun on my face, the touch of a loved one, or the feeling of getting into clean sheets after a long day.
In the past, I believe I’ve struggled with practicing gratitude because I didn’t really know what it meant to me. That’s what I’m grateful for right now – for being invited to write this blog and for taking some time to understand what gratitude means to me.
As you finish reading this, I invite you to notice what’s going on for you right now and to recognise something about your own experience, big or small, for which you can be grateful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: VIX ANDERTON
Vix is a multipotentialite. A leader, a change-maker, a gender and security expert, she had a ten-year career as a Royal Air Force intelligence officer. She is now building a new portfolio career helping individuals and organisations achieve meaningful and sustainable change and empowering women. She is launching a coaching practice, training to be a yoga teacher, and blogs over at www.another30something.com. You can find her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/another30something.