What are you grateful for?
By Tricia Scott
Gratitude for me has become a mindset, a consistent gentle practise every single day and I have learned to love it. It wasn't always this way though.
I learned about gratitude practise about 5 years ago, and suddenly it was everywhere. People were talking about it, entire chat shows dedicated to it and Oprah was endorsing it by the show load. It was as if the universe was delivering this message to me in every way possible. I wanted to be part of this phenomenon, I wanted to be the best I could be at it and so I set to like a dog chasing a juicy bone. I mean who doesn't want more of the stuff they're grateful for? I put in the work. I made sure I wrote down ten things to be grateful for every morning and every night. I scolded myself if I didn't say thank you for everything (literally) and I chased after more and more reasons to express thanks every day.
What happened? Instead of being a joy to practise it became a chore.
I used to stress about it. I was constantly convinced that I was doing it wrong, should I be louder? Quieter? More grateful? Should I buy yoga pants? Did I need a sacred mat or crystals?
In all honesty, I found it a pain in the arse.
So one day I just gave it up. I decided it just wasn't worth the worry about what would happen if I got it wrong. If I wasn't grateful enough would all of the things I really was thankful for up and leave? Would I be deemed undeserving for being an ungrateful heathen? See, stress right there.
During my time of forced retreat from the world (and hence the name of this section of the website), I learned to slow down and stop overthinking, you can read more about it here. It was indeed the best and worst of times. I learned some valuable lessons and some surprising truths about myself and while I pray you don't learn the hard way as I did, my hope is that you'll heed the warning signals your body gives you and indeed eventually see a way to be grateful for them.
Something interesting happened when I lightened up on gratitude practise, I found myself saying thank you more. In my head, to people around me, dare I even say in my journal from time to time. Just a simple thank you. It felt good too, I wasn't consciously thinking about it, it just became a gentle habit. The more I said it, the more reasons I had to say it. Who knew it could be so simple? I stopped scalding myself when I over scheduled, I recognised my humanity when I made a mistake and I simplified my overly complicated life as much as I could while still running businesses and contributing to my family and friends.
I was no longer confined by the ritual but rather I was freed by it.
Do I journal my thanks now? Occasionally yes I do.
Do I worry if I forget to remember to be thankful at the end of a long tiresome day? Not at all.
Do I enjoy practising saying thank you in my head and out loud as I go about my day? Absolutely.
What I've learned is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to gratitude, its personal preference, and choice. Being thankful is a state of mind, a joy, and a balance. When I practise more, I get more back for sure and when I forget to remember I forgive myself, take a breath and move on.
What could be easier than that?
PS - You definitely don't need yoga pants.