“Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.” Alan CohenRegardless our backstory, if we find ourselves on any sort of pursuit towards happiness or a more positive life, we're likely to have stumbled upon the concept of gratitude.
Research after research, article after article have reinforced the power of gratitude in cultivating a happier life experience. It's known to be a fundamental practice in creating a more positive, more satisfied mindset.
But do we do it?
I know from my own experience that irrespective of how beneficial I knew it was going to be, it was genuinely challenging to actually implement it in my daily life. I’d have a week of it maybe here and there but if I missed a day, it’d be gone from mind until the next article I read or my next reminder, where of course I’d vow again to give it my utmost dedication.
It still didn’t initially come naturally, particularly when I was throwing away energy to negative spirals and complaints - and so the lesson learnt was that it needs to be an active, consistent practice. It needs to respond to our negative soundtrack and answer our loudest laments. It simply needs to become a vehemently vocal influence in our lives.
Of course, sometimes this concept almost seems too simplified; like the idea isn't enough, it's not complex enough for the intellect and thus is lacking a real, tangible point. Surely the simple act of being thankful is useless in the face of our deepest, darkest struggles?
Having been there and thought that, I can absolutely vouch for the fact that more often than not, these very simple acts when done consistently, do actually become the foundations of our own real, rudimentary change. So much so that now, having installed gratitude as a constant feature in my mind, I can repeatedly see its relentless reward.
Throughout the day, my thoughts will naturally wander to what I’m grateful for, what are the ‘at leasts?’ and where can I replace negatives with positive appreciation. And to my previous doubts, I can now entirely impart reassurance that it works. It’s a powerful process in changing not only mind-set but perspective and even our experience too.
Like any practice though, if we’re not already doing it - it can take a fair while to get the habit going, even when we’ve been bombarded with the benefits or have been (repeatedly) advised to give it a shot.
So as such, having understood the challenge in creating the habit and eventually feeling the benefits in overcoming that challenge - I thought it’d be helpful to get the ball rolling for others and have a month all of its own purely for gratitude. I figure if we have time for social media at all, we have time for active gratitude, so over on our blog’s Instagram @daretolivesos we're going to have 31 days of gratitude for the month of August, with the hashtag #daretobegrateful
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so if you get involved in this too, it could be a significantly positive start in cultivating a grateful outlook.
I’d love to see what others are grateful for and see the gratitude spreading, so if you want to follow and be part of it, just use the hashtag when you post daily and we’ll be able to see a beautiful collection of gratitude building day by day
'When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears' Tony Robbins