One of the wisest pieces of advice I have heard is "You have to love the life you live, in order to live the life you love."
Most people seem to think it will come the other way around: when I lose 5 pounds I'll be happy, when I get a promotion I'll feel grateful, when I'm in a relationship I love I will feel lucky. If you continually chase a dream, you will move the end goal as soon as you get there if you don’t know how to feel grateful for what you already have.
Once that 5 pounds are gone, maybe you won't be as happy as you thought it would make you and want to lose another 5, or be focusing on the next promotion, or whatever goal it is you are working towards. The thing is, happiness is an inside job. External things do not create happiness, you do.
The reason feeling grateful is such a key to happiness is because you already love what you have. Anything more is extra and that's incredible, but you are happy with your life now. It means that when more comes (and it will!) you already know how to appriciate it. It will feel like enough.
I am sure that in your life right now there is so much you overlook that you could feel gratitude for. Perhaps you have incredible friends, a great partner, a parent or sibling or whole family you love.
Maybe you have a skill, a talent, a passion that sets your soul alight. Maybe you like your job, maybe you like your colleagues. Maybe you did well at school, or maybe you did well after school despite not getting the grades you wanted. Maybe you are beautiful, or fit or healthy. Maybe you have a safe place to live. Maybe you have clean drinking water in your tap, a mobile phone, a TV, electricity you can access all day that doesn’t get switched off for hours at a time. Maybe you have access to free health care.
There are millions of reasons to be grateful when you start to look for them. For every thing you don’t have that someone else does, there will be another 100 things you have that other people don’t. If you are like me and you live in the UK, we are incredibly lucky in so many way.
Count your blessings, and in that frame of mind, you can truly appreciate all of the incredible things you can experience in life. Choose to have an attitude of gratitude. It also is scientifically proven to increase your levels of happiness to feel grateful.
How to pump up your gratitude today
1) Start a gratitude journal
This is such an easy way to make gratitude a daily practice. All you need to do is to write 3 things you are grateful or each evening as you go to bed. This allows you to reflect on the day in a positive way, and its lovely to read back over months of positive memories too.
2) Do gratitude meditations.
Here is a 15 minute guided gratitude meditation from Insight Timer, my favourite meditation app to get you started.
3) Gratefulness o'clock
Set a timer on your phone to go off at certain times of the day and ask yourself (or whoever you're with!) what your grateful for at that moment or that day.
4) Thank people
Write heartfelt thank you letters to people who have made a difference in your life. It will seriously make their day and you get to feel happy and grateful too, double winner!
One of the biggest things you can do to feel grateful for what you have visit other places around the world, and if you choose the right places it will be very eye-opening to see how other people live. If you can't afford to jet set of to somewhere right now, start with documentaries of countries who live starkly different lives to your own.