Craig shares a deeply personal take on being grateful
Sometimes I feel that I don’t take enough time to consider what I have in my life that I’m grateful for… and I should. It’s totally understandable that over the last year this has been a more challenging concept to consider, but I truly believe that, if I stop, take a step back and look at the wider picture of my life I’ll always find elements I can be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be big things, it’s the little everyday things in my life that can make a positive difference.
But why is this important to me? When I consider stuff I’m grateful for, it naturally puts me in a slightly more positive frame of mind. I’m single, live alone and for the last year I’ve found lockdown has put a strain on my mental health. At times I’ve felt isolated, lonely and vulnerable. However, when this happens I focus more on my thinking patterns and make a conscious effort to consider what I’m grateful for. I have noticed that this conscious effort immediately stops any negative thoughts, makes me challenge my thinking and halts stuff that may pull me down.
When I’m busy working, my mind is active and I’m focused on my clients. When the work-day stops and I switch into home life (it’s critically important to have this changeover as part of a daily routine), there are moments when it’s lonely and monotonous. Nothing is really different. I then deliberately concentrate on the elements in my life that I’m grateful for and that bring me joy.
Living in a small flat with no garden for 5 years had taken its toll and I occasionally found the walls starting to close in on me. A few months ago, I made a change; I changed location and moved into a house. I feel blessed to have this opportunity; the feeling of waking up in a house, opening my back door and breathing in fresh air from my garden cannot be overstated. I’ve lived in a house before but I never really appreciated it. I took it for granted. No longer – I’m so immensely grateful to live where I do.
I’m grateful that I have friends and family around me, in my life, that I can talk to. Friends may be located all around the world but I’m really thankful for contacting them regularly. My parents live abroad and that’s been a challenge, but I’m thankful that they’re relatively healthy and have me and my brother for support. My passion for music and specifically my drums, is a key focus, as is the fresh air and little treats I choose to give myself every day. These treats include ordering a (semi-healthy) take away, practising my drums, planning a trip to the coast or simply going for a walk.
As I sit here and chat about this, I can feel myself smiling and feeling happier.
At those moments when I feel myself dip and my mind is focusing on the stuff that isn’t great, I always think about my locus of control and am hugely grateful for what I have in my life. It’s very easy to think about what I don’t have, but I deliberately think about what I do have and am thankful for. Sometimes I will write it down or tap out a memo on my phone. I also note on my phone the items I want to change, and as I work through them and make changes for me, I realise that I do control so much more in my life than I maybe first anticipated!!
My challenge to you is to take five minutes today, grab a piece of paper and a cuppa, and then jot down a few things that make you smile. Reflect on them and then consider how they make you feel. Because, when we’re taking time and purposely focusing on being grateful, you’ll find it building into a crescendo of feeling brilliant.