Gratitude - Sarah Virag

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward.

In a few weeks’ time my family and I are on the move again.

We’re heading back to England after 15 life changing years spent in beautiful South Africa and, more recently, central Europe.

It has been such an incredible decade and a half of my life! Years for which I am eternally grateful. If I add my childhood in South America and the Caribbean into the blend, I definitely have a book’s worth of tall tales to tell!

Time abroad has brought me the gifts of incredible experiences and cultural insights, plus new lifelong friendships.

It blew my soul mate and future husband into my path – and a third child I never expected to have.

Most of all this incredible opportunity has made me realise how deeply thankful I am for all that I have in my life right now.

The time is always right to stop and smell the roses!

So – at a time when I’m feeling enormous gratitude for all that I’ve experienced to date – and for all the possibilities lying ahead back in the UK – I fell upon a most remarkable little video this morning.

It’s amazing how often life drops something subtle and relevant into our paths. Does that ever happen to you?

I’ve put a link to this most inspiring, emotive video at the end of my post, and encourage you to take six short minutes of your day to watch it.

It’s entitled ‘Gratitude’ by Louie Schwartzberg, with beautiful narration by Brother David Steindl-Rast. You will not be disappointed!

What the video so beautifully outlines is the sad truth that we rarely stop to absorb how much we have to be thankful for.

The here and now is the most precious gift you have.

Here’s a little round up of some compelling reminders as to why ‘the gift of today’ – GRATITUDE – is one so precious you simply can’t afford to take it for granted;

  • Positive emotions – like gratitude – keep you resilient. Resilience is the key to winning at life! Are you winning?
  • Gratitude keeps you upbeat and optimistic. It helps you stand up again when life throws something tough into your path.
  • Gratitude is that incredible feeling of giving thanks for all the things you can’t manage on your own – and realising that many others are supporting you right now, either directly or indirectly. Do you stop to think about that?
  • Gratitude throws a lovely spotlight on all the good stuff in your life. When you feel grateful, you allow a lot of wonderful positivity, optimism, generosity and kindness to flow into the world around you.
  • Always strive to live with the ‘glass half full’ rather than ‘glass half empty’ attitude. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, focus on what you do have – right now. You are actually pretty lucky – do you realise it?
  • Fact: Materialistic people are seldom happy. Possessions just cannot make you happy. But you can make yourself feel happy and grateful– by changing your inner dialogue.
  • Gratitude leads to feelings of satisfaction and well-being. It helps us to flourish in absolutely everything we do.

What else?

Research done by Robert A Emmons and Anjali Mishra highlights the countless benefits of living gratefully, Amongst them;

  • Stress reduction.
  • Tough times are far more manageable when you have a stockpile of good thoughts to draw upon.
  • Gratitude helps you reframe losses and stay emotionally connected to family and friends.
  • Improved general health.
  • Grateful people make fewer visits to the doctor and live longer.
  • A grateful spirit will help you sleep better, stabilise your blood pressure and can ease many physical complaints.
  • Improved relationships.
  • Gratitude draws people together, builds trust and strengthens all human ties.
  • It gives perspective.
  • When we make occasional poor day to day decisions, feelings of gratitude for what’s good in our lives help keep negative emotions such as regret, anger and resentment at bay.

Finally, here’s my challenge to you. Can you take a moment to pause and reflect today on what you are grateful for? Then try to do at least one of the following things:

  • Leave an unexpected, loving note for your partner. Tell them why you appreciate them so much! Did they surprise you by cooking dinner last night? Run some errands that made life easier for you? Take the children off your hands for a few hours?
  • Express thanks or write a quick line to a colleague thanking them for their input, help (or maybe saving your bacon with the boss recently!)
  • Make a list of 12 things that you are truly grateful for at this very moment in time – big or small! (It could even be that delicious coffee in your favourite mug calling from the edge of your desk!)
  • Call an overwhelmed friend to ask if you can help ease their load in any way? This is a fantastic way to lift spirits – theirs and yours. Kind acts naturally instil feelings of gratitude and happiness. Go for it!
  • Email a friend you don’t see often – let them know you’re happy to have them in your life. Everybody loves an out of the blue ‘how are you?’ message!

However you do it – just do it!

By the way, here’s the link I promised earlier – don’t miss it!

… and if you would rather read on as you finish your coffee, why not take a look at these recent posts about making the most of family time and the importance of being playful in everyday life

Ps Which gratitude challenge did you choose? What are you grateful for today?

Originally published at