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A letter to my grandson on the topic of Gratitude

Following our conversation on happiness, I want to tell you a little about gratitude

Would you agree with me when I say that we go through the journey of life quite casually? We are not particularly trained at recognising the value within our experiences. The process of recognising value, is the process of feeling a sense of gratitude and let me tell you, anything done with gratitude will always generate healthy and happy emotions.

Gratitude is a hidden emotion within us. It does not make itself apparent on its own, nor can we wish for it. We are only able to feel it when we search, identify and recognise the emotion. If you are able to cultivate a feeling of gratitude throughout all experiences in life, you will never ever feel a sense of misery.

This feeling must flow from within us, outwards to all the factors that contribute to the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. It starts with being thankful for yourself. Celebrating every bit of yourself and being grateful for another day that you are being blessed with. It then moves to being thankful for your friends and your family, the food that you are able to eat, the walks that you are able to take, your football lessons with your boys and the movie nights with your family. It may be part of your daily routine that you go about everyday casually, however the same activities performed with a sense of gratitude will release double the serotonin in your body. In such an instance, not being able to pick the movie at night or being benched in a football game will not bring you misery as you will be overtaken by happy emotions of gratitude.

When you play football in the park or go for a walk with a friend, have you ever noticed the funny antics of the ducks in the pond or the scent from the flowers on the trees? Have you noticed the birds singing or the excited dogs out on their walks? When we take a walk in the park casually, we fail to notice these small things that can definitely make us smile.

Treat gratitude as a personal experiment. All of tomorrow, perform all the same tasks as you did today, however add a sense of awareness and recognise the moments of gratitude throughout your day. It will fill your heart up. You will notice a huge difference between you and the other man across the street who is hastily getting through the day. He may be consumed by his misery, however your attitude of gratitude will cancel any feelings of sorrow within you. Be thankful for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for your football session and movie nights and you will completely forget that we are living in the middle of a pandemic.

This conscious shift in a person's mind creates feelings of joy and happiness. That being said, remember that all days are not the same. Somedays, we may feel the weight of the world to be much heavier. Gratitude may not come as easily and that is O.K. Give yourself a break and engage in an activity that you enjoy. Be it painting, dancing, cooking, watching tv, or listening to music. Go to bed feeling grateful for having done something to make yourself smile, because remember gratitude starts with yourself.

The best way to reconnect with our gratitude is to recognize the beauty within and around us. The colours within and around us are so vibrant, however, go completely unrecognized on a daily basis. Celebrate your talents and celebrate your flaws (those make your human), celebrate your family and your friends, celebrate the moments of motivation, and celebrate the moments where you just laze in bed. If you find that emotion of gratitude and live life with such awareness, you will feel a fountain of joy. Your misery will not phase you out as you will be too busy celebrating your life.

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