The new buzz word is ” gratitude” a phenomena that seems to be taking over from the craze for mindfulness as the ” new must have therapy to cure all ” Although much hyped in recent years as the wonder therapy, mindfulness does have a place and a very useful place for some people in helping to manage their unwanted thoughts and troublesome feelings.
Gratitude was identified by the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero to be not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others. More recently the philosopher Dr Robert Emmons in his study of human emotions found in 2003 that being grateful can increase perceived happiness by 25%. Since then there have been further studies which conclude that grateful people experience higher levels of joy, love, happiness and optimism and are better protected from the destructive feelings of envy, resentment, greed and bitterness.
Interestingly we can literally produce feelings of gratitude at almost any moment and one place we can start is by being grateful for who we are. It is too easy to constantly focus inwardly at our negative traits and problems and easily avoid being grateful for ourselves and our lives. Focusing on the negative qualities in partners, children family and friends leads to unhappiness and general feelings of dissatisfaction. Simple as it may seem repetitive constant complaints about the weather will bring you down.Try instead to use gratitude, be grateful for the rain enabling us to live in this beautiful green land. Even when forced gratitude seems to have the same up lifting effect. The same principle applies to your relationships both personal and professional so when you feel irritated by some thing your partner, children, friends or work colleagues have done accessing feelings of gratitude will significantly improve your mood and the relationship. This does not mean you become a doormat or a pushover, if you need to address a problem then do so. It simply means not focusing on the negatives but finding something to be grateful for in your life.
In hypnotherapy the therapist can use hypnosis, mindfulness and gratitude, incorporating suggestions of gratitude to improve feelings of well being, to identify inner strengths which you may have forgotten that you have. I always like to include phrases to encourage you to appreciate yourself and be grateful for who you are. This enables you to change your focus and slowly alter your perceptions, so that whatever problems we have we can learn to reflect and accept the good things in our lives. Throughout the day you can consciously choose to stay present in this moment, accepting that life is a moment by moment process and one moment simply leads to the next, whatever is going on in your life you can be grateful for being you. Incorporating this into your daily life will bring an increased sense of well being.
Certainly I believe that gratitude is probably easier to practice and maintain than mindfulness meditations, it has the added advantage that you will focus more outwardly on the people and the world around you leading to much less preoccupation with any problems or ailments that you may have.