Gratitude, the Greatest
Let’s talk about gratitude. Not as something out of pop culture but a timeless, and profound virtue. The great philosophers wrote and spoke about gratitude. Cicero calls it the “greatest and parent of all virtues”.
How can we feel gratitude when we feel constricted, scared, angry, stressed, and or in physical pain? I’ll tell you right now. It takes a whole lot less energy to feel gratitude than it does to feel any one of the above mentioned.
Interest in the topic of gratitude dates all the way back to the ancient philosophers up to modern times. Why?
Our “monkey mind” needs to be reigned in sometimes. Our mind jumps from thought to thought like a monkey in a tree. The part of one’s mind that wants to go down the same old track and take over, needs to be put in place. Train it to subside!
This is where gratitude comes in. Gratitude can be cultivated in a daily practice, and for those of you who resist the discipline, remember that no great thing comes easily. The process takes all of five minutes.
Daily practice means getting up before your official day begins, and when distractions are at a minimum, and writing down what you are grateful for. They can be small, or large, long ago or current. Choose a lovely journal, or a simple pad, and a beautiful pen. Keep it in the same place, so you can come back to it. Develop the routine.Write down whatever comes to mind, and you will see your list gets to the real essence of your life, and the people that matter, the aspects of your life that matter.
A little back story. For a year, I wrote down every morning what I was grateful for. The discipline of doing so made me see how much beauty, synchronicity, love, appreciation, not to mention; the basic needs in my life were fulfilled.
I overlooked so much when I simply went about my day without taking a moment to reflect on the goodness of life.
Practicing gratitude does more good than what we know. Gratitude is the fuel to a happier, more contented life. In an article entitled, “The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief”, psychiatric counsellor, Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury writes,
“When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.”
As you can see, the exercise of gratitude is not just some pop culture woo woo. It is backed by science and is worth pursuing.
It is never too late to let people know just what they mean to you. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. All of the withholds take up space in our hearts and minds
Here are 5 ways in which gratitude can play a role in your self-care and wellness:
- Gratitude is by far the easiest route to feeling wellness in our lives. A lovely way to wake up with a cup of tea or coffee. Light a candle, sit quietly, and write.
- Gratitude requires no effort. Try listing out as you close your eyes at night, or actually writing them down before you go to bed. I think you will find the page is filled without struggling.
- Gratitude opens our hearts and gets us out of our heads. When we are in touch with our heart, we smile more, we offer help, we don’t expect, we don’t compare, we don’t judge.
- Gratitude brings us to the present, rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future. The feeling is immediate. Tame that monkey mind.
- Gratitude reminds us of our humanity, of what connects us, versus what divides us. It teaches us to treat each other with more kindness. Allowing ourselves to feel gratitude may even lead us to how we can serve. Doing anything in service of the greater good is a humble act.
May you find great peace and gratitude this Thanksgiving. Create more beauty in the world.
Where in your life do you feel gratitude? Let me know on Facebook and Instagram.