Picture this: you wake up later than usual because you forgot to set the alarm the night before, you rush to get the kids ready for nursery and school, while making coffee and some oatmeal for breakfast, meanwhile you’re thinking about the long day ahead and the list of things you have to do. You’re stressed before you’ve even set foot outside the door. And now, someone comes and asks you to show some gratitude. And you’re thinking: “Seriously, who has time for gratitude?”
In the busy-ness and rush of life, it’s easy to forget to stop and reflect on the good things we have in our lives. We get sucked into the day-to-day things we “have to”, “should” and “must” do before we finally crash on the bed at night, waiting for another day - just like this one - to start again tomorrow.
But what if I told you that gratitude can actually reduce stress and make you happier, healthier and increase your energy levels?
Well, that’s exactly what I am telling you, and this is based on extensive scientific research into the benefits of practicing gratitude.
In her book “Ask and it is Given”, Esther Hicks, speaking on behalf of Abraham Hicks, suggests a simple game to play to bring about a feeling of gratitude which they call the Appreciation Rampage. Start by looking around you right now and find one thing that looks good to you. It can be anything at all; a pen, a painting, a side lamp, a wall… Start listing the things you like about the object you chose. Do you like its color? Is it useful to you? Does it make your life easier? Do you enjoy its texture? Continue thinking about this object and listing everything about it that is pleasing to you, then move on to another object, and do the same thing.
As you go through this exercise, you will start noticing that you feel better. Hang on to this feeling, because right now you are vibrating at a higher frequency.
Life is full of ups and downs, and for this exercise we want to focus on the ups for a few minutes. Go back in your memory to a time in your life where you were very happy. Go deep into this memory. What were you wearing? Who were you with? What did you smell? What can you hear? What were you saying? Think of all the details until you start feeling a rush of positive emotions in your chest.
Choose a specific time every day, morning or evening (or how about right now?) and write down 10 things you’re grateful for. Again, you can choose anything. Some days, finding things to be grateful for is easier than other, but even on the darkest days, you will always find something to be thankful for. Can’t think of anything? How about those eyes you’re using to read this article? Or the phone you have in your hands? Or the food you had for dinner? Yes. Those are things to show gratitude for.
When you really look for them, you’ll find blessings hiding in plain sight, and the more you notice them, the better you feel.
Will practicing gratitude magically and automatically make you feel good? Yes, but only if you do it consistently and with intention.
Muna Shakour is the founder of Inside Out with Muna, a training and coaching organization that helps people find their own source of calm and clarity. She is a bilingual (Arabic and English) certified Trainer and Facilitator, Personal Development Coach, specializing in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). Muna is a teacher of mindfulness and self-compassion, she works with individuals, groups and companies, teaching them how to be able to handle stress and to feel greater ease and acceptance. Muna's approach brings the benefits of science-based tools and strategies into the practical realm of our daily lives to discover calm and balance in a common-sense, engaging and relatable manner. Her training programs and workshops focus on understanding the power of the mind in order to succeed in the workplace and in personal life.