Monday, 21 September 2015

What are you grateful for today?

According to my diary, today is World Gratitude Day and although I'm aware of the concept of gratitude,  I have to confess to not being aware of an actual day dedicated to this world wide.  I do however like the idea and was keen to know more. Hence started my research and although I'm not doubting its existence, my research has made me question how known this event day is world wide.

It appears that there are two areas laying claim to its creation; the people of Hawaii in 1965 and the United Nations Meditation Group in 1977.  However, I'm not put off by the haziness of the origins of World Gratitude Day.  I still believe that making time in our lives to appreciate what we have can make us feel happier and more content and thus have a positive impact on our mental well-being.

Yesterday I discovered a box of Roses chocolates tucked in the plant pot, behind the fir tree next to our front door.  There was no note and no clues as to who put it there.  Even though I don't know who the chocolates are from, why we've been given them and actually whether they were meant for us and have not been left there by mistake, it made us smile, if in a somewhat puzzled way.  Assuming we are the intended recipients, it's a very lovely, selfless gesture from someone, and one I'm hugely appreciative of.

In our busy and hectic lives our diaries and calendars are packed, our activities are timetabled and our heads bursting with things to remember  but making time to find a little calm and focus on the amazing things we have in our everyday experiences and interactions can be very beneficial to our overall sense of well-being.

Sporadically I keep a gratitude diary.  Nothing fancy, I just jot down 3-5 things I'm grateful for about that day.  Sometimes I jot down quite big and substantial items but more of the time it's little things that could quite easily have gone unnoticed.   I say sporadically because although not part of my plan, sometimes good habits slip, however, I have noticed that I have a more positive outlook when I do.

I ask my daughter either at teatime or bedtime story time "what was the best bit about today?"  Normally this leads to tales of playground games, a sticker they were awarded by their teacher, something one of their friends said that made them laugh.  Not once have they been unable to answer.  Now I appreciate that they don't necessarily have the same stresses and pressures that come with adult life, and that some days I admit that it takes a little more thinking and brain power to come up with my 5, but there is always something.  A mental health practitioner who used to run a Stress At Work training course with me said he starts with "I'm alive and breathing and have a house over my head", on the basis that he then only had to think of two others.

Why not give it a go.  Try and keep a Gratitude Diary for a week, jot down things that make you smile, that you appreciate and that you're grateful for and see what a difference it can make to your outlook.

Here's mine so far for today....

1.  Seeing my youngest daughter going off on a school trip holding her friend's hand and looking so happy after a few tears of anxiousness. 

2. Getting my run done this morning before the heavy rain set in!

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