The Healing Power of Gratitude, by MJ Lockett.

Sitting here I become aware of that continual demanding never ending “To Do list” and I feel swamped. How does life become so busy and so complicated? I am sure I am not alone in this feeling and the demand to achieve more can make people feel very stressed. But I stop and just take a quiet moment, a slow cool breath and connect with what is going on around me. I see the wind swaying the vibrant deep conifer that is home to sparrows, pigeons, blue tits and song thrushes. One little sparrow rests delicately on the edge of the branch and holds his tiny contribution to their nest, it looks like the black dog hair that I allowed the wind to blow when I was grooming my dog. Its seems the ultimate recycling and I notice my heart lift into a lighter feeling.

In the moment, I hear the harmonious chirping of the blackbirds that also call our guttering home and I begin to feel peaceful. By taking that conscious breath I know that I have plugged into the vibration of gratitude rather than tension and my whole body and being thanks me for this shift.

For many years, my gratitude journal has been a potent form of recognition for all the blessings in my day and has literally the power to turn your mood around if you truly engage with its therapeutic value. It’s so much easier to hold onto the irritations of the day, to catalogue the things that are hard or painful. Whilst these feelings are true and do deserve your attention it’s also instinctive to remember what is wrong rather than what is going right. When I list 10 to 20 things I am grateful for at the end of the day my mind searches back through day and instantly clicks when it forgot that parking at work was easy, my child gave me a big squeeze, my pillow in my bed is perfect, the sound of my dog woofing in his sleep or that I was shown kindness by a stranger in a small way.

Just like a bad mood often brings more grievances, anger or frustration we can enhance what we feel depending on what our focus in on. This is not to say that positive feelings are any better than others everything has its importance and value. But more importantly gratitude gives an instant connection to ourselves which can be forgotten by day to day stresses.

Like all actions what we intend to connect with gets enhanced by our openness and desire to look deeper. So even if you have been practicing a gratitude journal for years we can still meet the blessings with a freshness like discovery of treasure. Like all tools of self-discovery, you can only judge what it’s like for you to try and see. But I imagine that if you continue for a month you will see more joy in your day, you may smile more, you may be that person who helps someone without thinking “Is this convenient for me?”

But such a simple practice, that costs no money can bring immeasurable peace and happiness to your life. This beautifully then has the ripple effect to your family, your friends, work colleagues, and the community. Perhaps even a positive effect on our environment and people who live on another continent. Who knows? But certainly, we know what it feels like to be loved, appreciated and blessed. And, how painful it can be on the other end of the spectrum.

So, grab a little notebook, sharpen your pencil (yes I am suggesting it’s done on paper not a phone or laptop) and enjoy searching through your day for small things that made your spirit smile. I hope you enjoy discovering them each day.