A year ago I decided to take up the 365 Moments of Gratitude Challenge. I had hoped it would assist to get me out of the little funk I was in, to start viewing the world in a more positive light, but I was never prepared for how much this challenge would bring me.
So off I began, a year of taking photographs of something that I was grateful for. I do admit I was a bit daunted by it all, wondered if I would ever complete the project, but a voice inside me told me to give it a go, it was something that I really needed at that point of life.
This is the photograph that commenced my project:
My two darling children, Kiara and Noah with the flowers that they regularly pick from our garden for me, always with some kind words such as “These are for you Mummy cause we love you so much”. I was always happy to receive them, but often worried if we would have any flowers left on the plants. I decided to take a moment to be thankful for such a kind gesture.
From here my journey commenced, I started to open my eyes up a bit more to the wonderful world around me. I started to think of all the beautiful, kind people in my life.
In the whole project, the majority of moments that I was grateful for were free. I started to see that it is really true that in life it is not so much about what you have, but what you think about. I thought of the people in third world countries who did not even have a proper roof over their heads, yet were always seen with smiles on their faces, I compared them to some of the richest people I have ever met who still grumble about anything and everything.
It really is not about what you have, it is about appreciating what you do have.
The ripple effect commenced, the more I started practising gratitude, the more I was able to find to be grateful for. I really did have a blessed life!
I also found that my attitude was rubbing off to my children, they seemed to be more grateful as well, I felt happier, my marriage seemed stronger, and friendships deeper.
I also started to become kinder to myself, I started to try new things, rather than the usual little voice that would have told me it was impossible, I started to give new things a go, to rise to new challenges.
With Gratitude, I found kindness, happiness, empathy and honesty. It was as though by being thankful, all the other wonderful things in life were also magnified.
Now don’t get me wrong, this did not suddenly make my life perfect, or stop me from having off days, though I did find that I was able to bounce back a bit easier from hurdles, and started to look beyond the imperfections.
I doubt that a stranger would meet me on the street and comment on what a positive, inspiring person I am, but I do notice the change within myself, I feel so much more free.
As I said before, I am still prone to feeling overwhelmed and anxious, I still have my odd meltdowns,that’s ok, I am after all only human, but these days they are less regular.
So was my Gratitude project a success? Most definitely!
I would recommend anyone to start practising Gratitude for a more grounded, happy way of living, here are some ideas how to start:
- Start a Gratitude Journal, write down each day or even once a week the things that you are grateful for in that time, take the time to reflect on past entries.
- Stop thinking about all the things that you don’t have in life and start focusing on all the great things you do have.
- Discuss with your family each night over dinner what wonderful things happened to each of you that day, and what things you are grateful for.
- As you go to sleep at night, take a moment to focus on the things that you were grateful for that day.
- Go out of your way to thank others, be it friends, family or even that nice waitress that served you a coffee today in the local cafe.
- Think Happy thoughts
- Start to believe in yourself and all the beautiful things/people and moments you have in your life.
- Remember some days one of the most powerful things you can do is to stop, take a moment to breathe, and to just be. This can be a moment to gather your thoughts, to calm down, and to regain a bit of peace in a hectic day.
Never did I expect that one simple decision to commence a project of photographs would have such a profound, positive impact on all aspects of life.
I really am thankful for the art of gratitude, and all the wonderful things it has brought to me, most importantly the ability to no longer walk around in this beautiful world with blinkers on my eyes.
And for each and every one of you who have commented on any of my pictures over the last year, dropped me a message of support, or just simply come along for the ride,
I thank you