If you’re worried and you can’t sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.
These are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs in the movie White Christmas. Count your blessings instead of sheep is what they sing. The message in that: develop an attitude of gratitude. Why? Because peace, joy and happiness -basically all good things-, they start somewhere. They are rooted in gratitude.
Now we know how important gratitude is, we must learn how to practice it. However, we can only do so by knowing its enemies: pessimism, unawareness and comparison. Here’s a battleplan:
1. Water your flowers not your weeds
Some people are just pessimistic by default. Their focus goes to the negative. And that’s only going to change if you fix your focus. Everything and everyone craves energy but you choose who or what to give it to. Choose to give energy to the things that float your boat and not to the things that sink it.
2. Take a break
Stress often stems from racing through life. To experience gratitude, we need to stop for a minute and just be aware. ‘Being grateful’ is actually just that, being. It encompasses the act of being in a conscious state which allows you to experience to a deeper extent. I find it so challenging to fully grasp this concept of the momentum of gratitude. Especially in a western environment where everyone seems to be so focused on the future and craves a sense of security in everything. It has become normal that we only let ourselves be grateful when everything is double checked and signed. Then we have earned it and then we’ll have rest. We forget that gratitude is not something you earn, nor is it something that lasts forever. Gratitude can happen whatever the length. Often, these moments are snippets of time that you can’t pin down. Gratitude is not a physical thing. And that’s the very reason why it can’t ever be taken away from you.
3. Stop comparing
Another way gratitude gets clouded is when you start comparing. Comparing yourself with other people is a big thief of joy in general. You either end up devaluing yourself or devaluing someone else. When you lose the ability to see what you have, you gain the urge to need. You start wanting what other people have while you might not really need it in the first place. We don’t have everything but we don’t have to have everything to be thankful.
Gratitude is a vision, one that I feel everyone should incorporate into their life. Some people send up a thank you prayer. Some make gratitude lists. Other people just have a moment in the shower when they stop and think about what they are grateful for. It doesn’t matter the method as long as you give it energy. Because nothing creates better vibes than an attitude of gratitude.
For anyone who wants to hear the full song that inspired this article click here.
Photography by @happyhippyfoodie