Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for abundance
Everybody seems to be in a race to get more of everything, be it money, cars, clothes opr whatever else they believe that will make them happy. We hope that, as we get more of whatever we want, the quality of our lives will improve. It doesn’t. You get a temporary high after bringing home your next fancy purchase, but the novelty soon wears off and you’re brought crashing back down to earth. So, you need to buy something bigger and better, slowly emptying your bank account while you fill your house with things you neither want nor need. If, on the other hand, your drug of choice is money, then you will find yourself devoting all of your time to working, and neglect your personal relationships in the process.
This is not a healthy way to live. Happiness is an inside job. What this means is that you don’t need to have a huge bank balance or lots of fancy things to be happy. All you need to experience true happiness is self awareness.
Self awareness is having a good idea of who you are, what you want from life, what you value and what direction you want your life to take. Once you know this, and are on the path to self awareness, you will begin to act accordingly. Living in accordance with your beliefs and values, achieving what you want for yourself and realising the power you have to create your own destiny are what bring real, lasting happiness.
Becoming self aware is very difficult. It’s a long and difficult process when reflecting on who you are, where you are right now, where you want to be and what you can do to get there. There is, however, something quick and easy which, if done daily, will also have a massive impact on your happiness. This is the practice of gratitude.
By thinking about all the good which you have in your life, you experience a crucial mental shift. You move away from thinking about your life in terms of what you lack, and instead focus on what you already have. Your attention is drawn towards the positive aspects of your life, which you could potentially build upon.
It feels weird and unnatural when you first practice gratitude, because marketers bombard us constantly with messages about what we should have in our lives and how happy it would make us. Fair play to them, they have to earn a living I guess, but it’s up to you whether you pay any attention to their bullshit.
So, how do you practice gratitude? There are countless ways, and you just need to find the right fit for you through trial and error.
Personally, I prefer to add this to my daily journal. I always carry my journal and write in it throughout the day, but there are 2 set times in the day when I must journal. This is my gratitude journal time, and the process is quick and easy;
- As soon as I wake up, I reach for my journal and pen, and write 3 things which I am grateful for. It could be something as simple as a good night’s sleep or sunshine streaming in through the window.
- These are in bullet point format, and only go into detail if I think that it will help at a later date when I revisit my journal.
- Now, my mood and mindset is positive before I have even got out of bed, because I am feeling grateful and happy.
- Before bed, I write another 2 things for which I am grateful. This helps calm my mind, especially after a challenging day, and contributes to a good night’s sleep.
So, every day, I write down 5 things which I am grateful for. It takes no longer than 10 minutes in total, but the mental boost is fantastic. It motivates, but also offers perspective. You realise that your quality of life is better than you thought.
Sometimes, however, I need to be more creative than just writing a list. On these days, I grab a sheet of paper and make a mind map.
- In the centre of the page, I write the sentence, “I am grateful for…” and draw a fancy border around it.
- I then draw a number of lines leading away from the centre, with each one leading to something which I am grateful for
- Then, for added visual effect, I add pictures and colour to the mind map
- Finally, the mind map goes up on the wall, and I add more lines and points for gratitude as the week or month goes on.
I use the mind map approach too, as having a visual reminder can be even more powerful than a list in a journal. Combining the two keeps me grounded, keeps me positive and ensures that I don’t lose focus.
Alternatively, there are note-taking apps such as Evernote which could be used to log your gratitude. Whatever shape it takes, log what you are grateful for, because it takes a mere 5 – 10 minutes of your day and the positive impact on your day, and life, is priceless. This is what will bring real, lasting happiness and it doesn’t cost anything apart from time.