Gratitude is one of the principles of Mindfulness practice. It is aligned with compassion and curiosity. It can help us to reframe adversity, pain, struggle, stress, disappointment etc.
In a world where challenges to our equilibrium abound, it can be difficult to see the ‘glass half full’. We can feel pushed, shoved and pulled by life demands and other people’s expectations, whether real or perceived.
We are often reminded to ‘stop and think’ as a strategy for slowing down and making better decisions. It is less common for us to ‘stop and thank’ however and yet it is a powerful way to redirect ourselves from spiralling downwards when feelings of resentment, disappointment, anger etc start to arise and from getting on the thought trains that invite us aboard as a result.
It’s not to dismiss or invalidate feelings but rather to become aware of the thoughts that arise and choose whether to follow them or not. ‘Stop and Thank’ helps us to take a mindful moment to acknowledge where our thinking is heading and make a deliberate switch to consider the things to be grateful for.
For example, if you realise that you will have to take a later lunch because of some unforeseen delay or deadline, it’s common to become annoyed, frustrated and to get attached to feeling unfortunate. By noticing the feeling and recognising the direction of your thinking, you then have an opportunity to make a choice to instead consider something to be grateful for. It may be that you feel grateful to have eggs in the cupboard that you can poach quickly when you eventually do get a chance to have lunch! It might be something else, or several other things. Whatever it is for you, the shift in thinking from deficit to silver lining will most certainly make you start to feel better.
So next time you notice your thinking spiralling into resentment territory, take a moment to ‘stop and thank’ and notice what difference it makes.
You can access guided Gratitude Practices here