If you’ve been reading our blogs for a while now, you’ll know that we here at OohBox love a buzzword. Hey, it’s a buzzword for a reason, right?
The word we’re tackling today is: ‘Gratitude’. In this post we’re going to do a deep dive into the word, the concept, and how to show up in gratitude for yourself and for others. Strap in.
The word ‘gratitude’ is a Latin word meaning ‘pleasing’ or ‘thankful’, and it’s a word that describes a feeling when we are on the receiving end of a good thing or deed. So you can be grateful for a gift you’ve received from a friend, you can be grateful that the rain stayed off for your morning walk, or you can be grateful for the roof over your head.
In recent years, gratitude has become slightly weaponised, meaning that you shouldn’t complain about your life because you should be grateful for what you have, but I think that sort of defeats the object of gratitude, right?
The reason I say that is because, apart from what I’ve mentioned above, gratitude is also a sort of mindfulness practise that you can take part in daily. Research by psychologist Robert Emmons says that by documenting what you are grateful for daily you can increase your well-being and life satisfaction!
I’ve been practising this for a while now, and I’ll tell you it’s harder than it sounds. Weirdly, it’s sometimes tricky to think about things to be thankful for each day, because even though you know you’ve got a pretty good life, a lot of the little things go unnoticed. Keeping a gratitude journal is a lovely way to train yourself to take notice of what happens to you each day, and to take stock of all the good things in your life. Which is why I think weaponised gratitude is a bit of a waste of time, because if you’re not feeling happy with your lot, someone forcing you to say your life is great isn’t really going to help. But if you make that decision yourself, and slowly start to notice the little good things around you, that in turn can improve your mood, which means more good things will happen, which means you’ll notice more good things, which means you’ll be happier, and round and round it goes on a big flipping spiral!
I’ve listed a few different ways you can start to bring gratitude into your day; have a read and see if any could work for you!
Start a Gratitude Journal
You don’t need a specific gratitude journal, although there are some nice ones about. All you need is a notebook and pen, ideally slim enough or small enough that you can carry it in your bag with you (in a pinch you can use the notes app on your phone). During the day or at the end of the day, try and list at least three things you’re thankful for today. It could be a big thing like ‘I’m thankful for Emma buying me coffee at lunch’, or it could be small like ‘I’m thankful my dog snuggled in while watching telly’. It could be based around people, around your health, around the weather, anything!
Notice the ‘thank yous’
This is a nice one! Notice how often in your day you say the phrase ‘thank you’. Do you say it to the woman holding the door for you? Do you say it to the postman? Do you say it to your SO? The more we notice who we’re thanking in the day the more we notice all the little things people do for us. And hey, don’t forget to thank yourself too.
Give yourself reason to give thanks
The trouble with being grateful is that we’re often too busy being busy. We don’t see that our kid has tidied the kitchen for us because we have to run out to work, or we don’t see the man holding the elevator doors as we run to catch them. And we don’t notice that we’re not giving ourselves what we need a lot of the time, too. So at least once a day, give yourself something that, if someone else were to do it for you, you would thank them for. Run yourself a bath, find some free time to read, make a luxurious hot chocolate, do some exercise, whatever!
Be grateful to your loved ones
Another nice one! It’s not just you who can benefit from gratitude, your friends and family can too! It feels nice to be nice, so why not extend the love to others? Feeling grateful for the hard work from your work colleagues? Treat them to biscuits in the break room! Thankful for the amazing pep talk your best friend gave you last week? Send over a thank you gift to surprise them! Feeling grateful towards a long-distance pal? Send them an invite for a sleepover and get the tipples out! When you show your gratitude to others, most of the time they’ll show it right back.