(by Simone Lawrence)

What’s for breakfast?

I do this gratefulness exercise with my kids as at the table as they eat their breakfast cereal for dinner. Oh, did I say dinner, I meant breakfast;) I ask them what do we need to be grateful for to have this cereal on the table. First they might mention their parents for making money to buy them, then the person who went to the shops to buy them, the person who put them on the shelves in the supermarket, the person who shipped them to the country and drove them to the supermarket, the person who operated the machinery to pack them in the box, the person who picked the grain to take to the factory and so on. Going back through the supply chain and expressing gratitude to all those who came before them in order to have this bowl of cereal on the table.

Don’t worry be happy

Being grateful and expressing gratitude to others and for ourselves is in my opinion, one of the most underutilised and overlooked keys to success that we have available to us all the time for free. It helps to expand our view away from ourselves and into the wider context. The more we are grateful for the things around us the more positive we feel, the more oxytocin-happy hormone we release from the brain which affects our mood in a positive way and we will transfer our positive mood to everyone around us. Want to be known as a happy person, be a grateful person.


Appreciate the small stuff

In order to be grateful, we need to start sharpening our ability to notice and appreciate the good stuff around us that normally goes unnoticed. Noticing the people around us that do things that may be taken for granted, noticing within ourselves, how we are today, what we need to appreciate within oursleves and what we might need in that moment. Being grateful that we are able to respond to that need. Noticing our family members, our colleagues, peers and bosses and demonstrating gratitude through some form of acknowledgement to show that they are appreciated. Helping us frame so many more situations in a positive way.


Adopt “Beginners Mind”

Mindfulness exercises that can take only a few minutes per day are an opportunity to flex our gratefulness muscle. They focus on our ability to notice what to be grateful for by encouraging the use of the “beginners mind”. To approach everyday situations with a new sharpened focus that help us to notice more and feel that it is the first time we are experiencing it. It can be of the most powerful methods ever to create a more positive outlook.

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