Most of us view gratitude as part of a prayer that we mumble half heartedly. “Thank your God, thank your parents, thank you teachers and thank you good fortune” we tend to mutter even as half of our mind is focused on the food on table or on the next task that we have to rush to.
But how many times do we really stop and think about how lucky we really are? As an average person who lives in a developed world we have so much to be thankful for. We have grown up in a safe environment, been provided with modern education, have access to world class healthcare, to name a few of our benefits. Yet, we take all of that for granted and rarely do stop to acknowledge our luck by expressing thanks for it.
Mindfulness and Gratitude
Gratitude mindset is a direct result of practising mindfulness. Since a mindful person is always conscious of his/her surroundings he or she is also in touch with it. This feeling of unity breeds a sense of gratefulness for the whole. Also at an interpersonal level, mindful people not only notice others’ kindness more, but also remember them more. Hence, experiencing gratitude becomes an intrinsic part of being mindful.
However, if you still find it difficult to be grateful, identify what stops you being so. Perhaps it is a bad memory or your inability at the moment to be mindful. In such cases, you can practice the S.T.O.P exercise:
T: Take a deep breath
O: Observe your experience, surrounding or the past memory that still affects you negatively. Let yourself feel all the emotions and then evaluate which emotions effect you the most and why.
P: Proceed. You can talk to someone about your experience to attain objectivity and distance.
Gratitude increases as we share it. When we pay forward the kindness we received, others identify with it and are compelled to follow it. So as the network of kindness and gratitude spreads it connects more people and brings more joy to each one. Remember then that gratitude pays double as it benefits both the holder and beholder.