Gratitude, simply put, is an expression of appreciation for what one already has. In an increasingly consumption-driven world, the difference between “wants” and “needs” often gets blurred. The importance of gratitude lies in the way it can bring our focus back from what we are running after, to what we already have.
In the words of Eckhart Tolle, acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
Why practise gratitude? In the rush of daily living and chasing goals, we often miss out on noticing the small joys in life. When we push ourselves to practise gratitude every day, we remind ourselves of these small things.
Curious? Try this experiment. Every day for the next one week, as you prepare to call it a night and get to bed, take out five minutes. In those five minutes, re-run your day’s “moments” through your head. Thinking about the big moments will come easily but force yourself to remember the small things. Things like an uplifting phone call from a parent, a good cup of coffee at work, a shared laugh with a colleague, lesser traffic during your commute, your ability to be a good listener to a friend who needed you…You get the idea. Now pick one or more of these things that made you glad, and send out a silent thanks for them. Ideally you should write this down somewhere for the highest benefit, but even just thinking of it is a good enough start.
Do this for a week and I assure you, you will want to continue. Reminding and training your mind to practise gratitude like this will gradually benefit you in ways you didn’t expect. You’ll start feeling more content with your present life, no matter what life-stage you are in. You will understand the importance of living in the moment and truly appreciating it. Even when your day (or week) has been a really crappy one, by focusing on the good, you will find the strength to deal with the crap.
Gratitude is one of the most important tools towards achieving a happy state of mind. Writing down what you are grateful for will not just make you feel good, it will also act as a motivator and source of strength during difficult times. You’ll learn not to take things for granted just because you already have them.