I have a question for you:
Does it feel good to complain? Or does it feel good when we take time to stop and appreciate something? like the smell of a flower or the colour of the sky?
Yes you may argue that complaining can sometimes feel good but the reason the latter feels better is because it is a form of gratitude and gratitude brings our souls to life!
In this blog, I am going to delve into my understanding of Gratitude, what it is and why I think it is something worth considering incorporating into your life, starting today! There will also be a link below to access my free 30day challenge to experience more gratitude in your life!
You see, when we experience something every day we get used to it and don't notice it anymore, it becomes ordinary, like the beauty of the sky or the love of your family.
The other side of the coin is we actually start to expect things and we don’t appreciate how lucky we are to have the parts of life that we do have, for example, have you ever broken a bone and all of a sudden felt completely lost because you weren’t aware of how much you needed that limb to complete everyday tasks?
The reality is that nothing is promised, therefore nothing should be expected. We don’t know what can change in any given moment and I think all of us can relate to that after the Covid pandemic- overnight our freedom was taken away and we stayed in fear for a very long time. I certainly have felt a huge shift since the lockdown was lifted in Ireland, it’s crazy to think back on how much things have changed, but just like I said, nothing is promised and who knows if we could end up in a similar situation again in the future.
From my own experience, I feel like we actually don't see the things to appreciate around us when we get lost in our own thoughts- of our past failures/ mistakes, our future goals, our regrets, worries and fears.
We aren't present or in the moment.
We are lost.
Being present and grateful is the greatest gift I have ever been given and that's why I want to share this concept with you so that you too can unlock the treasures of life from right in front of you. Something which has always been there and it will continue to be as long as you have the key to access it.
So what is the key?- I believe the key to unlocking the beauty of our lives is Gratitude.
So what is Gratitude?
According to the dictionary, Gratitude is: ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’
From the skillsyouneed.com:
"Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, or towards specific individuals. The person who feels gratitude is thankful for what they have, and does not constantly seek more."
In my opinion, Gratitude is about being present and feeling appreciation for what we do have, being thankful for everything in our lives right now and expressing our gratitude through our thoughts, words or actions. It is a state of being, which when practised well can completely change our whole life experience as we know it.
You see our minds are extremely powerful and we can train them to work for us when we know how. Through practising gratitude daily, we can train our brains to focus on what is working- the glass half full one might say! When we teach our brain what we want to focus on it searches for more of the same - practising gratitude proves to us that we do have so much to be grateful for, all we need is to shift our perspective to realise that.
It's about shifting our mindset to see what is working or what is good and then from that point we will start to change. When we are constantly seeking out positive things, our endorphins will fire and we will feel good. Alternatively, when things go wrong, we will approach life with a different attitude, so it’s good all around.
It's not about ignoring the bad. It's more so about seeing the good and even when things do go bad or we are met with challenges, being grateful is a strength we can fall back on to lift us up and bring us through the tougher times.
Even when things go wrong, there is always something we can focus on to appreciate.
So where do we begin?
At the beginning it may seem difficult. I remember sharing the idea with some colleagues a few years ago, to which they responded:
"But Lorraine, how can you think of so many things to be grateful for? My life isn't that great, I am missing so many things!"
Sound familiar? I'm not surprised if it does, we all do it! We are living in a society which is teaching us all about instant gratification. We get something and then we want something else.
Now bear in mind the colleagues I mentioned before, were fellow flight attendants for Emirates airline- these ladies were working for the best airline in the World, travelling to at least 6 different countries every month, getting to stay in top 5* hotels around the World and living in the infamous Dubai, but just like any of us humans- they got bored of it or didn't see it for what it was after some time- it became normal and expected.
Now, just to be clear, I’m not trying to berate them or say they were bad or ungrateful people but this is just an example of when something becomes the norm we find it hard to see it anymore. We find it hard to be grateful for something when it just seems normal or expected. But, what we forget is that in any moment things can be taken away. Nothing is promised and we can lose a lot by looking outside and always wanting something bigger and better.
It’s all fine until one day the Universe removes something. Then we realise that what we have been chasing isn’t really what’s important, right?
You see, we tend to look for material things to be grateful for, thinking that this is what's most important. It's only when we really think about it, that we realise that even though I may have gotten a new phone or a new car, the joy that these things bring is very short lived and these days it's becoming even shorter as technology, fashion and material things move at an astoundingly rapid pace.
What then Lorraine? What can we be grateful for?
To start, one thing that everyone who is reading this definitely has- is a beating heart, blood pumping through our bodies and breathing lungs! These are all essential for our lives! But we take them for granted all the time.
What about the fact that we can read this blog, some people don't have the education to do so let alone access to even a fraction of the facilities we have and don't even acknowledge.
We can be grateful that we woke up today and we have another chance to enjoy a day of life in whatever attitude we so choose!
We now live in a time where we have more people working and motivating others to do better in their lives, so much so that a whole new industry of speakers, coaches, and healers have emerged! In my opinion this is definitely something to be grateful for!
We have access to a whole world of information at the tips of our fingers to choose whatever we want to fill our minds and time. And yes, the World isn't perfect but we're definitely improving!! There is always going to be dark and light in the World and all we can do is choose which way we want to focus ourselves and our own lives.
So now let's ask, what is there to be grateful for?
If you don't know yet, my answer is- so many things!!!
Try out my 30day challenge to see for yourself, just how much you have to be grateful for right now!
We just need to spend some time shifting our perspective and becoming aware of everything around us!
A lot of the time we experience pain or loss before we become aware of what we need to be grateful for, I want to change that! I want to be grateful and enjoy every moment while I still have the time!
I think everyone would want that if they had the knowledge and awareness. What do you think?
So what happens when we practice gratitude?
Well firstly, I'd like to explain a little bit about how our brains work so that you can see the benefit of this practice. Did you know that we only use 5% of our brains consciously? That means that 95% of our brain is subconscious! That's crazy! So much potential and we don't even realise it.
So what does that mean? Well we can only consciously focus on a very small amount of things at a time but the subconscious brain is doing the rest. For example, we don’t need to think about breathing, our heart beating or any of that stuff, actually when we try to, we end up getting anxious and worried about it! Yet our subconscious mind is doing this stuff all the time.
What about when you learnt to ride a bike? (I'm just using a bike as an example because it can be generally universal but you can put this towards any example which resonates for you.) When you started, it took a lot of practice and conscious effort to get ourselves up on the bike and not fall off. We had to remember things and it seemed like a lot of effort and work until one day you got it and then you knew the steps and you kept going until you got better. Eventually you didn’t have to think about it, you could ride on the road with cars or you could do tricks- why? Because your subconscious took over the heavy lifting parts and then your conscious brain had the space and time to spend on other things.
Any time we learn something, it is difficult to start with. We are exhausted from trying and we have to continuously practice. The reason for this is we are training our subconscious brain to do it for us. The subconscious brain is trained through repetitive actions and steps. That means that you can actually train your brain to do anything and it will eventually become autonomous.
Did you see? yet another thing to be grateful for- our astonishing minds!
So the amazing thing about this is that if we can train our brains to do anything we can change our lives- all it requires is a period of time which we have to apply the effort and eventually it will be a natural habit. When you break it down, our lives are just a series of automated habits, we each have our own but we also each have the opportunity to create new ones, shaping our experiences.
So when we practice gratitude, what we are doing is focusing our energy towards the positive side of life, focusing on the glass half full rather than half empty. So they say there are millions of parts of information and energy all around us and we are attractive beings- we will attract what we put out and what we focus on.
So if you think about it, if I was to focus all day on positive things, it would become easier for me to see the positive in situations going forward. It's all just training our brains on what we want to focus on. You see the law of attraction isn’t some form of magic- it's more so just unlocking a secret.
When we focus on what is working and what's good in life, always wanting to see the good side, our brain will automatically go to look for more of the same because like energy attracts like energy. If you think of a magnet attracting things or an even more relevant example nowadays is the algorithm effect. Your brain just says oh you like that? Here's some more! It doesn’t understand good or bad- it just gives you what you focus on.
So the algorithm on social media and youtube works in the same way. If we are always looking at cute puppy videos then the algorithm says oh you like that? Well here's some more! I know what you like now so I will give you more of that! If you want to see an example of this then look at a friends phone and see their youtube feed- it will show their interests and it keeps regulating itself to show what they are interested in. Life works the same way- if I go around complaining everything is bad and nothing works my brain will say okay yes you’re right, here's some proof!
This can be so hard to see when we feel like victims of our circumstances or when life hasn’t been going right for us- believe me, I know! But what I will say is try to change your perspective on a few things, play some games and test it out to see this playing out for yourself- don’t just take my word for it. Inform yourself of the possibilities and then try them out for yourself.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change"- Dr. Wayne Dyer
When you think of it this way, your brain is actually an obedient soldier- it will just keep showing you more of what you focus on! This can be a scary thought at first but just know
that it is only when we constantly focus on something that it will change- so one negative thought or complaint will only turn into a problem when we focus for a long time and let it snowball.
Now I know you may say well it’s not my fault, I don’t choose to be negative etc and this may also be true, you may have some subconscious negativity which you picked up in childhood or from your environment and it wasn’t your choice then but the thoughts are still with you now.
I know this isn’t easy but the reality is we only have right now and we can actually change the conditioning which we have been left with- it’s time for us to take responsibility and ownership for our own experiences- unfortunately other people won’t do it for us and when we blame them, it doesn’t actually change anything!
So when we focus on gratitude, we are using the law of attraction and our subconscious mind to create the magic for us. All we have to do is focus on what IS working, practice being grateful for what we DO have and the Universe will give us more of the same.
Why is this helpful?
Well if we look into understanding the law of attraction it says that like energy attracts like energy. When we practice gratitude, we feel good. The more we practice it the better we feel. It brings us into the present moment and says hey you know what life ain’t so bad- look at all the great things I have working in my life! Look how lucky I am!
It helps to ground us and take stock of what's good. While we’re doing that, we end up feeling better and we don’t feel the desperate need for things to change- we feel good where we are. Once we feel good where we are we will vibrate at a different frequency - a frequency that says ‘hey I am so grateful and good things come to me’ instead of ‘ nothing ever goes my way’. This way our brains will say hey yes I know good things will come to me and they already have’ like a magnet we will attract that again and again-this is where the magic lies!
When you focus on anything, your mind works like an algorithm to find you more proof of the same. So imagine when you find even the smallest and most general thing to be grateful for, your mind will be a good servant and show you more things to continue practising gratitude!
Our minds are actually very simple in this sense and can be easy to control once trained. We see people doing it all the time!
It just takes time and requires some effort.
Then as with everything, practice makes perfect!
You don't even need to force it and try to pretend to be grateful for things to manifest them, all you need to do is go general and like a snowball effect, you will eventually have an avalanche of things to be grateful for. You will even notice things you didn't even pay attention to before. This will manifest the feeling of being a lucky, rich or affluent person and that's when manifestation will work its best.
Manifestation works by your feelings and thoughts not by forcing out words which you don't have any attachment or feeling towards. Your feelings are your internal guidance system- they are always guiding you! When something feels bad, uncomfortable, off etc- it could be worth listening to and even investigating. When something feels good, then you know it's right! This will take time for you to decipher- remember it's about your feelings not about what others tell you! They’re each on their own journeys- you are on yours and what's good for you might not be for someone else!
I also want to clarify that I’m not saying you need to ignore all the negative things in your life and just be grateful. What I’m saying is that we just need to take stock of things- look at the bigger picture. Put things into perspective and appreciate what we do have! This will in turn make us feel happier.
When we compare our lives to others we get lost and confused thinking we haven’t done enough or we’re not good enough but when we take some time to look at our own experience and see it from a higher perspective it will make us feel more in the driver seat and we can completely change how we related to our own life and experiences.
Practice living in the present with an attitude of gratitude.
There's always so much to be grateful for all around us- it just takes a little bit of awareness to see.
Shifting your perspective in this one way today can have a ripple effect across your whole life.
Having an attitude of Gratitude can make us much happier in our daily lives.
Gratitude can transform your life right before your eyes.
Your brain is here to work for you, take some time to train it and watch your life change.
Practice gratitude to feel good, not to manifest because when you just work on feeling good you will automatically become a magnet anyway and amazing gifts will naturally radiate towards you without any effort- The best things come when we're not looking for them!
Gratitude is the best way to experience more happiness in our lives.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Do you have any experiences you’d like to share?
Comment down below :)