What are you grateful for today?
A little while ago, a Club Soda member prompted others by asking, “What are you grateful for today?” It was a bleak, wintery Monday morning, and as November well and truly settles in, it felt like a little beam of light. It would be easy to focus on the negatives: it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s Monday, we’re beginning or are struggling with the inevitable sniffles, the commute/traffic was horrendous… You get the picture. But, the question prompted many in the group to step back and respond, focusing in on the bigger picture.
The practice of happiness is focusing on what we do have, rather than not. I had spent a difficult weekend visiting my father’s grave and having financial worries. I started my Monday with all these thoughts, however after the prompt, I stepped back and realised that I had many things to be grateful for: My health, the ability to feel grief as it means that I continue to love, and a delicious packed lunch from my partner after worrying about money.
The question got members in the community contributing too, with many touching on their health, the enjoyment of exercise, being outdoors, siblings, parents and partners, soup and warm clothes, for being sober or mindfully drinking, for the Club Soda community, and the list goes on… It may seem that is it human nature to dwell on the things we don’t have and concentrate on the negatives, instead of celebrating on what we do and our successes. We spend a lot of time beating ourselves up, in ways we would never allow others to do so. So, why the double standard?
As we have quite a few American members celebrating Thanksgiving, we thought it would be a lovely opportunity to talk about the practice of gratefulness. Being grateful has the power to block out negative thoughts. Have you ever tried to convince yourself that you’re not cold, and for a moment you stop shaking? It’s a little like that, training your brain to focus on different things over others. It can be easily done with the negative, so why not the positive? If you give too much attention to the bad stuff, they become all consuming, all encompassing. Switch that around and let the positives act like the cornerstones of your day to day, and gradually they will change your mindset.
Here are a few tips to get you started on practicing gratefulness.
1. Keep a journal
Try making it a habit – be it daily or weekly. In some regularity, jot down a few great things that happened to you or that you are grateful for. Keeping your focus on the positive will really make a difference.
2. Practice mindfulness
The habit of being fully present and not wishing for something in the future or the past—but just being grateful for what is—can really shift your perspective. Catch yourself when that moment escapes you, and gently remind yourself to come back.
3. The big picture
Become involved in a cause that is important to you. As you become aware of other people who are less fortunate than you, you will start to feel a deeper appreciation for what you do have.
4. Share the love
Cultivate appreciation for others and let them know regularly that you are grateful for them and for what they do for you—whether it be helping around the house or always inviting you out for a fun dinner date. Focusing on the positive will make people want to keep doing it!
5. Replace complaints with gratitude
When you find yourself focusing on what you believe you’re lacking replace it with thoughts of what you are thankful for.
What are you grateful for today? How will you be practicing gratefulness?