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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Forget the Stuff

Overcoming the Negativity & the Green-Eyed Monster with Gratitude

We live in a society where value and status are placed on material things like cars, homes, and clothes and we all dream about having more – more money, bigger homes, more cars – yet we never seem to be happy.

In fact, instead of being thankful for what we do have, we commonly feel envious of the people who have more than us, and being in constant competition with neighbours, colleagues, friends or family members can be exhausting.

Not only that, but eventually, you then risk losing sight of the important things in life, such as your children, relationships, and health.

Placing a strong value on "stuff", you won't feel very fulfilled and you'll end up creating an inner tension that will only drive you away from happiness. After all, happiness isn't defined by the amount of stuff you collect, and the reality is, no matter how much we have, we always tend to want more.

Studies show that human beings whole-heartedly believe that “stuff” such as the perfect house, car, body or career will make us happy. In fact, what really raises our happiness levels are the experiential side to life, the trips, the relationships, the walk, or the delicious chocolate cookie.

Remembering What You're Grateful For

If you had to list what's good in your life, right now, and you weren't allowed to mention any material possessions, would you find this difficult?

Do you struggle just being happy and grateful because you're focusing on the lack, always longing for something bigger or better?

We may have big dreams for ourselves, but we can't begin to work toward our goals until we accept who we are and where we're at right now. That acceptance begins with a sincere appreciation for the life lesson's of yesterday and the talents and skills we have today.

Absolutely, we all wouldn’t say no to a big house, nice furniture, the newest phone, better paying jobs, Michelin restaurants, jewellery, and a nice car (or in my case, one that doesn’t break down on the M6 toll driving to our holiday).

But how can we appreciate the finer things in life if we can't be thankful for the simple things?

After all, the newest phone wouldn’t matter if you didn't have your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Of course, desiring good quality items isn't wrong, but by focusing on living and enjoying your life, not “stuff” will have an enormous impact on your overall happiness and satisfaction levels. And surely isn’t that what life is all about?

Expressing gratitude allows our minds to turn from focusing on what you don’t have, to instead reminding yourself of what you do have.

Incorporating Gratitude into Daily Life

Expressing your gratitude doesn't have to be reserved for Christmas, Easter or other special occasions. Share with your family why you're grateful today and really listen to what your family says in return.

You can never start too early when learning to integrate gratitude. Encourage your kids to dig deep to find their gratitude. By learning how to take their focus off of material items and onto influential people, positive experiences, and quality of life, you will be instilling positive practice that will support them throughout their entire lives.

Gratitude Journals

A gratitude journal is simply a notebook where you write down everything in life that you're thankful for. It doesn't have to take more than 5 minutes in the early morning or before bed each night. The idea is to clear your mind, reflect on the day, and see the goodness in life.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Buy or make yourself a nice, attractive journal so you'll take care of it and will look forward to journaling everyday.

  • Reflect on anything new that came your way: new friends, experiences, clients, or opportunities.

  • Don't be shy about repeating things from previous days; praising your good health and loving family never tires.

  • Did a friend do something nice for you today? Did you find a lost item? Do you have lovely fresh bed sheets to get into tonight? Did you handle a difficult situation well? Gratitude isn't reserved for really big things; you can be grateful for the small things, too.

  • Periodically, go back over your journal and read all that you're grateful for. It'll be a great pick-me-up on especially difficult days.

The more you add to your journal, the more you'll teach your mind a new way of thinking. Your outlook on life will become more positive and you'll feel a deeper sense of connection with those around you. And you'll discover the sheer beauty that already exists in your life.

My Challenge to You

It's easy for me to preach about gratitude making you happier, but the fact it, you will only know how impactful this practice can be, if you actually experience it yourself. So I am going to end this weeks blog with a challenge.

For 1 week, I challenge you to spend 10 minutes every day, considering 3 things you are grateful for. They could be big, small, silly, serious and anything in-between. Commit to doing this for 10 minutes every day this week and let me know at the end of your week how it differently you feel.

What have you go to lose?


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