Gratitude – The Missing Ingredient In A Healthy Balanced Life?

When we think of living healthy balanced lives we often focus on the key areas of physical exercise, healthy eating, and getting a good nights sleep. Thankfully, in recent times more emphasis has been placed upon the other important aspects of mental health, wellbeing, managing stress (resilience is a word often used here to put a positive spin on it..another story for another day) and finding that elusive work life balance. Is the practice of gratitude the missing ingredient and the glue perhaps that can bring this altogether?

We place a lot of emphasis on what goes in to our bodies - whether that is food, vitamins, or information. But what about what we project outwards from our bodies and beings? There are plenty of examples of people in our lives who on the surface do all the right things to maintain health - yet somehow they continue to experience health and lifestyle issues.12-11-2016-7-40-27-pm

The intention of this article is not to discuss the merits of a great diet or to promote physical exercise (although they are obviously important) - I will leave that to others far more qualified than myself to talk about those things.

What I am suggesting though, is that health and wellbeing is much bigger and wider and multi dimensional than diet and exercise. I often speak about making what I call those necessary connections in our own lives.  That is, becoming cognisant of those connections that help us become more aware of who we are, and how what we do and think impacts us and those around us.

So how does gratitude fit in to ensure, and perhaps fortify, a healthy approach and outlook to life? As a contrast lets look at the opposite of gratitude here (for example words and feelings like: pessimism, negativity, selfishness, anxiety, worry, scarcity, poverty consciousness, doom, gloom, etc) and see if this can shed some light on the importance, and indeed the necessity, of acknowledging and practicing gratitude in our lives.

It is those feelings and experiences mentioned above that can create a downward spiral that erodes or dents a persons confidence, self worth, and their health and wellbeing. Is there a common denominator here? Generally speaking there is. In simple terms it is an experience that focuses on what is not happening, what is not there, and what is not mine. In other words the focus is on what is not working or evident perhaps.13-11-2016-3-25-51-pm

Hardly healthy thoughts or practices wouldn't you agree? Where is the evidence or demonstration of gratitude above for example? It is hard to see or experience life as this wonderful, and at times challenging journey, if we continue to focus on what is not happening to or for us. Gratitude is a way of staying on course and a reminder that our lives, despite our ups and downs, are actually pretty good for the most part....if we choose to focus our attention and awareness onto what is working for us.

Before I continue any further let me make it perfectly clear that I do not see gratitude in the same light as I see positive thinking. They are two completely different approaches.  I state this because it is all too easy to pretend things are not happening and to put a big layer of positive thoughts over everything in an attempt to improve or change situations. I am not a big fan of that kind of positive thinking...

The gratitude I speak about is not about creating positive thoughts where there are none, nor is it about developing mantras or affirmations (although they can be effective) to overcome or transcend certain situations.

Gratitude is about acknowledging what is already evident in your life. It is about being thankful and aware of all of those things that make your life good. These things are real. They exist. This practice of gratitude confirms your awareness of those conditions.

So how might you begin to be grateful in your life, and where might you start? You start at the beginning. Sometimes (and this is particularly valuable if your life is focused on what is not happening or not evident) you start with things that might seem small or insignificant. You need building blocks and foundations to build upon - small instances and experiences of gratitude are powerful.

One way you can prepare yourself is to take a look at some of the video/audio programs around that can help you develop your appreciation and gratitude further. That aside, all it takes is an open mind and an intent to see good things and valuable experiences in your life.

Here are some examples to get you into the habit of practicing and acknowledging gratitude:

  • I give thanks for my health.
  • I give thanks for my family.
  • I am thankful for a great job.
  • I am thankful for a good partner.
  • I am grateful for living in a beautiful place.
  • I am grateful that I have great eyesight/hearing/movement.
  • I give thanks for my creativity.
  • I give thanks for my ability to adapt to life changes.
  • I am thankful for the food I eat.
  • I give thanks for the experiences I have had that have made me the person I am.
  • I am thankful for having the ability and freedom to choose.
  • I am grateful for those things I may not be aware of that are working for me right now in my life...

The above is a small list of things that barely even touch the surface of what you might be grateful for in your life. The key is to start focusing and looking at what is happening in your life, what you do have, what you are managing to achieve - and what you have achieved. It is an appreciation that life and its challenges brings possibilities and opportunities into your life. It is about the wonderful things and people that are in your life. More than that though, it is whatever you choose it to be based on your imagination and experience of yourself and your world.12-11-2016-7-32-07-pm

Gratitude is about making those necessary connections in your life where your awareness starts growing and you start appreciating your life and the experiences and conditions you are creating in it. It is real. It is experienced. It is powerful. It is life transforming. And all importantly, it is something you can do in your own life right now. Coaching is a great way to become aware of, and to further develop your gratitude. To book a coaching session with me, or to find out more about how coaching with me can help you, simply go to the contact me page on the home page menu.

 

 

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