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Taking in the good and practising gratitude

By Jacqui Jones

Jacqui Jones is one of our fantastic Wellness experts with qualifications in child and adolescent welfare. She also teaches mindfulness meditation and positive psychology.

In this article, she explores our ability to take in the good and how to start focusing on what’s going well in life….

All humans come with a negativity bias, which is our tendency to register negative occurrences and dwell on them.

It can often seem like we’re facing one challenge after the next. However, we struggle to focus on the good, and we can be quite resistant to seeing the positive in things.

But taking in the good is a worthwhile task and one you should do daily.

Taking in the good through practising gratitude

Beginning a gratitude practice can help in your journey to ensure you’re taking in the good in your life.

When was the last time you felt really grateful?

Taking in the good and practising gratitude - image of a woman smiling

Close your eyes and bring to mind something that happened recently that you feel grateful for.

Notice how it made you feel…

Sit with the memory. Bring the event or person into awareness into your mind’s eye. Tune in and see if you can feel that gratitude in your body.

If you don’t feel anything, don’t worry. It can be achieved with a bit of practice.

Gratitude is a potent emotion. Not many people recognise gratitude as an emotion, but it is something we can physically feel.

People often feel it in their hearts. It’s an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation.

You should start your day by practising gratitude. It might feel odd, to begin with, if you’re used to rushing through the day. Sit quietly without distraction, and savour the moment.

Why it’s important to teach yourself gratitude

Why is it important? The answer is that when we’re in a better place and able to support ourselves, we can keep giving to the people around us.

Feelings of gratitude can bring our focus to the things we love and enjoy. We don’t often get an opportunity to stop and reflect.

Can gratitude make you happier? Evidence shows it can and will if practised regularly. It also helps with taking in the good of your life.

Taking in the good and practising gratitude - image of a woman smiling outside

How gratitude can help you:

  1. Increased happiness and positive mood
  2. More satisfaction in life
  3. Less materialistic
  4. Less burn out
  5. Better physical health
  6. Better sleep
  7. More resilience

It’s worth incorporating gratitude into your daily lives and helping your kids recognise what they have rather than don’t have.

Research shows if you can savour a particular moment for 30 seconds, you can create new neural pathways in your brain.

So the next time you notice yourself enjoying something, savour the moment and ensure you’re taking in the good. Next time you eat something you enjoy, savour the taste.

How journalling can help with taking in the good and gratitude

Taking in the good and practising gratitude - image of a hand writing in a notebook with a calligraphy pen

If you enjoy writing, you could start journaling. It’s a great way to reflect on your life when taking in the good and practising gratitude.

Choose a time that is consistent each day. This is to help create a new habit.

But if you’re not a fan of journalling, you can download apps to make a note of what you are feeling grateful for.

At the end of each day, simply ask yourself and your children:

  1. What is one good thing that happened to you today
  2. What is one good thing you did for someone else today

How often has your child come to you to tell you something is going wrong? Yes, you want to validate those feelings.

However, there is also so much value in helping children learn gratitude to help them start to see the silver linings when challenges do arrive.

How gratitude can help you deal with past challenges

We can also use gratitude to see past challenges through a different lens.

Think of a challenge you have recently been through. Think back to that challenge and consider two reasons why you can also be grateful for this challenge. 

How has it made you grow, and what have you learnt? Process and allow yourself time. 

You do get to a stage when you can think back and start to reflect on opportunities for growth and the silver linings. You can’t have a rainbow without the rain.

This gratitude can help us come to peace at certain times in our lives. Some of our darkest days bring our happiest moments.

Like anything, gratitude takes practice. Incorporating it into your lives can help improve your overall health and well-being. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Finding gratitude worksheet

We have a great worksheet to help with taking in the good and finding gratitude. It’s very straightforward. You can do it with your children.

Download the finding gratitude worksheet.

Why journaling can be so good for your mental health

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