Written by Karen Campbell

Lifestyle

Reasons to be cheerful

Today is World Gratitude Day. Pop your negative knickers off, says Karen Campbell, and start a gratitude book (don’t worry, nobody needs to read it).

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

We Brits aren’t really known for being gushy, are we? When we do something brilliant, we tend to coat it in sarcasm or self-deprecation to stop us looking crass or, god forbid, like a show-off. I mean, we’re not Americans after all.

So when it comes to being grateful for our lot in life we tend to struggle. But while we’re busy climbing that mountain, not taking our eyes off the summit, we’re missing so many wonderful things on the way up. In the words of Vanilla Ice, the best thing to do is stop, collaborate and listen – and what better day to do it on than World Gratitude Day. Yes, there’s a whole day devoted to gratitude. Isn’t that fab? (And American, obvs.)

Stopping is one of the most powerful things you can do. When was the last time you properly took in your surroundings or really noticed the small things in life that make you happy? Whether it’s enjoying a quiet bus journey to work with no one shouting into their phone next to you, a silly giggle with a mate or a tranquil walk in the park, these little things are precious and yes, stuff we should be grateful for.

As humans are built a bit weird, when there’s negative energy and positive energy in the room (like evil Superman and Clark Kent fighting in the junkyard in Superman III) we seem to gravitate towards the negative energy. For example, you might have 10 people telling you that you look nice and then one person comments that they don’t like your top. Which one stays with you and replays in your head? The ‘I must have horrendous taste in clothes and no one must like me because that one [insignificant] person doesn’t like my top’ one, of course. Sound familiar? Sadly it’s all too common, which is why it is up to us, and us alone, to recall the good stuff and remember that life ain’t too bad after all.

“When you get thanked you want to thank someone else as it’s made you feel all appreciated and nice inside. It’s like this great big circle of thanks and you’re the one that’s started it.”

A good way of doing this is to keep a little book of what you’re grateful for. If this feels a bit dickish, don’t worry; no one needs to look at it. It’s just your personal reminder of lovely, positive, happy things that can be referred to whenever you need a little pick-me-up or you’ve accidentally put your negative knickers on that day. Another way is simply to make sure your day is filled with things that you are thankful for and look forward to, anything from a great cup of coffee or a favourite TV show to an early night.

And then what happens is that this thankful, positive energy creeps in. This leads to happiness, satisfaction and motivation, not only in you but in those around you too. You start thanking people around you for the little things like putting the bins out and, let’s be honest, isn’t it nice to be thanked? When you get thanked you want to thank someone else as it’s made you feel all appreciated and nice inside. It’s like this great big circle of thanks and you’re the one that started it.

So, no matter how ordinary things may seem in life, try and take stock and appreciate them and be thankful. Whether it’s God, snotty kids, Jamie Dornan’s bottom or a fine G&T, these are the things that make us us and that’s very special indeed.

@kc0706

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Written by Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a life coach at www.your-dreamcatcher.com. She likes gin, James McAvoy and pretending she's not from Scunthorpe.