Do You Need To Have Experience The Opposite To Be Grateful For Something?

Do you have to have experienced the opposite to be grateful?

Gratitude: having a dishwasher?

Is It Only Through Comparison With The Opposite That We Experience Gratitude?

I’m sure it’s not just my kids that groan when they’re asked to unpack the dishwasher.  I have been known to throw a ‘well, when I was your age we had to wash and dry every dish by hand’ line, at which point they know it really is true that their mum is OLD.

They also didn’t know to be grateful for a roof over their heads until they first saw homeless people.

It doesn’t usually occur to us to be grateful for something until we experience the opposite.

Having a great month or year in business is appreciated so much more precious when there have been lean months or big challenges.

Earlier this year in a number of states, we became grateful for clean air after days of poor air quality. It’s unlikely that many of us had consciously thought about being grateful for clean air, unless of course you’ve travelled somewhere like Pakistan, China or India and experienced the opposite.

And I don’t need to tell you about what covid and lockdown has led us to appreciate.

Firstly, WHY might you want to experience more gratitude?

Take a look at this article on the neuroscience of gratitude and it’s benefits such as pain reduction; improved sleep; assisted stress regulation; and reduced anxiety and depression.

“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness.” – Unknown.

So how can you experience more gratitude without having to go through such challenging times? 

Here’s 3 tips:

  1. Develop a daily routine:   In our household at dinner time, we talk about 3 things we’re grateful for. And also what our ‘best bit’ of our day was. Invariably a moment or experience is recalled and recounted (briefly or in blow by blow detail, depending on whether my son or daughter is telling the story!). A journal is also great for this – just writing what you’re grateful for at the end of the day.
  2. Sharing gratitude with your partner before bed or with members of your team. Often what you’re grateful for might be something they’ve said or done, and this is a beautiful way to share it and acknowledge them.
  3. Turn your focus to the little things in your day that brought joy: a flower on your walk; an invoice paid on time; a new client; a phone call from a friend or family member; a friendly postie delivering your latest online purchase (yessss); your morning coffee made just how you like it etc.

By doing this you’re removing the need to appreciate the polar opposite to experience gratitude eg you don’t need to wait for bushfire smoke to appreciate fresh air. 

What can you start doing or add into your gratitude practice?

Kylie x

If you missed the last blog post on what I’ve learned from cold showers (brrr!) and how it can benefit other areas of life and business, you can check it out here.

Or to learn more, you can head here.

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