Five ways to harness the positive power of gratitude

PRESS

We were asked by the ES Magazine to share five small but significant changes we can all make to our everyday routines that will invite more gratitude into our lives...

"Gratitude is powerful. It makes us feel happier, healthier and more hopeful. Life flows when we are more grateful. And it’s not just us who benefit; imbuing our lives with daily gratitude has the power to ripple outwards to everyone and everything we come into contact with."
Anna + Grace

Read excerpts from the piece below: 

Today’s culture can often feel out of balance. We are bombarded by information and overloaded with stuff. We compare ourselves to others daily – often before we’ve even got out of bed. And the data is now in. Scientific research has confirmed that after a certain point (once our basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, and transportation are covered) the increasing affluence in the West over the last few generations has had no correlation with our happiness or wellbeing.

So what does this actually mean? Is our belief in the power of the material waning? Is confusing our human needs with our perpetual wants doing us more harm than good? Perhaps it’s time to reassess our patterns of thinking and doing – and create some new ones.

We can last roughly three minutes without air, three hours without warmth, three days without water and three weeks without food. How many other things can we not live without – but often fail to appreciate in the daily rush from A to B?

Here are five small but significant changes we can make to our everyday routines that will invite more gratitude into our lives.


1. Break the autopilot

Four out of five of us check our phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up; 80 per cent of us say it’s the first thing we do in the morning. Instead of racing straight into your morning routine, next time try taking just a few moments to greet the new day with appreciation. Take several long, deep breaths, appreciate your lungs and the abundance of clean air, notice the light in your room, the smells and the sounds that surround you. It has taken over 4.5 billion years for us to get here – but it only takes a minute to welcome in the wonder of a new day on Earth.

2. Brighten up your commute

The average city commuter encounters more than 2,000 adverts a day. Often we’re so rushed to get to our destination that we fail to widen our perspective and appreciate the journey. Have you ever stopped to notice the shapes, objects and patterns that come together to make up our daily environment? Maybe they are functional – lines to keep us safe, squares to stack, spots to signal the way; or perhaps they are decorative, adding beautiful touches to things we often overlook. Some will be both. Today, try observing the patterns that have been designed to support you in your day-to-day life. You could even try following a stripe and see where it leads…


3. Embrace simplicity

Cultures across the globe, from Indian monks to American neuroscientists, speak of the benefits of switching off in order to fully engage with the present moment. In an overstretched, ever-connected world, it can feel difficult to do just one thing at a time. Today, try breaking the pattern of multitasking and enjoy the experience of focusing on a single thing: eating your dinner without digital distractions, reading a book minus endless notifications, walking in the park and listening to the birds…


4. Reflect on supply cycles

In a world of abundance it’s easy to forget how much time, effort and energy goes into making even the humblest product on the supermarket shelf. Take a moment to think of one of your favourite products that you love and enjoy, from nectarines to newspapers. Imagine the web of people, processes and places involved in making it. Send some gratitude out to the supply chain next time you enjoy it.

5. Notice nature

Time spent in nature has countless benefits for the wellbeing of both our body and our mind – from reduced stress to increased self-esteem and emotional balance. In an increasingly complex culture, our basic dependency on the air, sun, earth and the rain has faded into the background, and the tender relationships between plants, animals and all living things lie largely out of view. Consider taking time out of your schedule to venture into nature for some solitude and reconnection with the system that gently and silently supports us all each day.


 

"Is our belief in the power of the material waning? Is confusing our human needs with our perpetual wants doing us more harm than good? Perhaps it’s time to reassess our patterns of thinking and doing – and create some new ones."
Anna Murray
studio@patternity.org
+44 (0)20 7613 5867