Attitude of Gratitude
Got the Grumbles?
It's easy to get into the habit of moaning and complaining, we're all guilty of it sometimes,
"I'm bored, this is rubbish, why does everyone else have a better time/ better clothes/ are slimmer/ prettier/ taller/cleverer/ have a better body/ better house/ more friends/ cooler parents".
Whatever area it is you might feel other people are better than you or have more of it's easy to focus on these things sometimes a bit too much. It's good to remember that most people have their own complexes about some area in which they feel inferior and they might not see what you see about yourself as bad. It is possible that they might see things in a completely different way to you. Here's a little story to illustrate that.
A friend of mine called Rachel had a best friend called Annabel when she was at secondary school. She always loved going to her house, it was lively and fun ,full of Annabel's friendly family, family friends and pets. She liked Annabel's cosy small bedroom and always felt welcome and cosy in this little house. The first time Annabel came to Rachel's house she was worried about what she would think, surely she would think her house was too big and quiet and empty, Annabel would think it was boring compared to the fun atmosphere of her house. When Annabel came and remarked on what a lovely house it was, Rachel confessed that she'd been worried about what she'd think....Annabel couldn't believe it, she'd in fact been worrying herself about the very same thing, (about what a girl who lived in one of the poshest roads in town would think about her tiny hectic little council house). After they realised this they both had a good laugh about it and stopped worrying about what the other one would think.
The grass is always greener
This is an example of the grass being greener on the other side. People can have a tendency to think that things are better for other people, or in other places. When you stop and think about it there are probably lots of good things about yourself and your life that you can appreciate and be proud of. If you stop comparing yourself to other people then it makes it easier to appreciate what you've got.
If you find it hard to begin thinking about what is good about your life, or hard to stop comparing yourself to other people, then a good place to start is by appreciating something simple like breathing. This is easy, just become aware of your breath as you breath in slowly through your nose, notice the feeling of the air going into your nostrils and flowing down to your lungs, it feels good doesn't it? Hold it for a second or two feeling the stillness of the space in between breaths and then the lovely feeling of releasing the air either from your nose or from your mouth.
From this form of gratitude you can move on to appreciating other simple things in your world such as watching the leaves moving in the trees, birds in flight, the movement of clouds, the softness of your cat's fur.
Taking your mind off big worries
There are many little things which we can notice and every time we notice and appreciate it helps us to feel a little bit happier about ourselves and our lives.
When things are getting you down (for example anxiety about exams, bullying at school, or stress at home) focusing on little things can really help you to calm down and not get so caught up in the bad feelings. Giving your mind something nice to focus on, even if this is only a small thing like becoming aware of your breathing, or of the sunlight piercing through the clouds in beams of light is a gift to yourself and will help you.
The more we focus on good things, the more good things will come to us
Perhaps this is just that you start noticing more good things, but I think that it is more than that, I think that once we start to have an attitude of gratitude we give out a sunnier, more positive energy which other people notice and this more positive attitude pulls in more of the same. It's a bit like how a smile attracts another smile.
"When you are smiling, the whole world smiles with you"
Except that there is no need to smile falsely if you don't feel like it, just start to appreciate the little things in life and who knows that might lead to a genuine smile.
Showing gratitude is one of the simplist yet most powerful things that humans can do for each other.
It certainly can put a smile on someone else's face if you appreciate something they have done, or tell them something about themselves that you admire, especially if it is something which they never normally get thanked for. For instance, if you have enjoyed a meal which someone has made for you, then tell them, tell them what it is especially that you like about it and thank them for taking the time to make it for you, or thank whoever washes and irons your clothes. It certainly makes me feel happy when a meal that I have made is appreciated, or when anything I've done is appreciated. The other benefit to this is that if your Mum/Dad/Carer is feeling chuffed because you've been appreciative of something they've done, it might put them in a better mood and then they might not be so cross with you if your room is untidy!
It is not happy people that are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
Try having an attitude of gratitude and see how it can change the way you see your life and how much better you feel for it.
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