The Art of Saying Thank You: How and Why We Practise Gratitude

Posted by Charlotte Wilson on

On November 24th this year, millions of people across the world will

dedicate their day to giving thanks, eating everything in sight, and getting

up early the next day to shop the best offers they can find (oh, hey Miss

Patisserie Black Friday sales...). But why do we practise gratitude?

 

Amidst the tragedy of colonisation, Thanksgiving marks a time of peace.

When the Wampanoag leader, Massasoit, successfully negotiated a peace

treaty with the Plymouth settlers, the allies came together for a whopping

three day feast with no weapons, war or conflict – but with an

opportunity to express gratitude for what they had.

 

And Thanksgiving isn’t the only cultural practice that celebrates the art of

giving thanks. Ancient Ayurvedic and Hindu traditions practise kritajna

(Sanskrit for gratitude); in Buddhism it is seen as the tool to cultivate

patience, which is one of the ten perfections of Mahayana Buddhism

(ksanti paramita); and Stoic principles depend on gratitude – with

Marcus Aurelius instructing us all to remember ‘what a privilege it is to

be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love’ every single morning.

 

There’s a reason people across the world for thousands of years have

been so bothered about saying thank you. Studies, history and experience

has proven that practising gratitude boosts happiness, reduces stress and

builds resilience when times get tough. It eases jealousy and can help

prevent against shiny-new-object syndrome (‘wouldn’t life be better if...’)

and that agonizing grass-is-greener mentality (when your social media

feed feels like fifty slaps in the face from fitfluencers).

 

If emotional health isn’t enough to tempt you (and if that’s true, then it’s

probably time to unfollow some of those fitfluencers, but we’ll talk about

that another day), practising gratitude actually improves physical health

too. It’s been shown to bring better sleep, clearer skin (erm, count me in)

and better digestion! What’s more – if you’re determined to manifest

your dream life for 2023 (much success, no stress and lots of happiness à

la Destiny’s Child) - the best way to establish the perfect state of

abundance necessary for successful witchy ways is through – you guessed

it – GRATITUDE.

 

At a time when life is feeling a little, ahem, challenging, and with New

Year’s resolutions just around the corner, we can’t think of a better time

to build a little gratitude into our lives. So how do you do it? We’ve put

together some options to help you on your path to saying thank you.

 

THE BUSY ONE

Are you the sort of person whose diary is already full till summer 23?

We’ve got you covered. Incorporating super quick, daily gratitude

practices is actually one of the best ways to reduce stress because like all

things – it’s the consistency that’s key.

 

- Everyday, ideally either as soon as you wake up or just before you

go to sleep, write down a list of ten things you’re grateful for. These

can be as simple as buttery toast and coffee or as important as your

friendships and the roof above your head.

 

- We recommend having a special place to keep your gratitude lists

so you have a little physical embodiment of how beautiful your life

really is – like this gorgeous one from Papier. And if you want to

maximise the power of this special book of abundance, use it for

manifesting too! Write down ten things you’re grateful for, then ten

things you would like to invite in and watch your life BLOOM.

 

- If you really can’t see yourself realistically setting time aside to do

this, don’t lose hope! Make a Whatsapp group with a couple of

like-minded pals and type out ten things each day on your way to

work. You can even voice note your list as you’re legging it to the

bus stop and be sure to reduce the stress of your commute (N.B.

gratitude cannot stop you from missing the bus... but it can stop

you being too bothered about it!). You’ll love the Whatsapp group

so much we can guarantee within no time at all, one of the points

on your list will be ‘THIS GROUP!’ followed by a multitude of

cry-face emojis. You’re welcome.

 

THE INTENSE ONE

If extra is your middle name and you’re ready to go full gratitude (no,

thank YOU) then look no further than our all-out guide to getting real

grateful.

 

- Set your space. You can start by smudging sage but remember that

sage cleanses rather than invites – so use it to get rid of any leftover

negativity before you bring in the positivity.

 

- Get comfy. If you still have your coat on and your mind is racing

around whether or not you sounded grumpy in the last email of

the day, it will be far harder to find that place of peace. Jump in the

shower – this is always good after you’ve burnt sage in case any of

those neggy vibes are clinging on for dear life – and switch off. We

couldn’t recommend our very own De-Stress Shower Steamer

more highly for this EXACT moment; say goodbye to the

mundanities of your day and hello to everything you’ve ever

dreamed of (no biggy).

 

- Light a candle. The transformational energy that fire symbolises is

ideal for accelerating a state of change. Yellow and orange candles

are particularly good as they help to ignite your solar plexus and

sacral chakras (which are all about confidence, joy and pleasure – so

fab for creating a state of abundance!) but any will do the trick.

Check out our favourite from Boy Smells if you fancy investing in

the perfect gratitude candle.

 

- Place your crystals in a circle around you so you are quite literally

SURROUNDED by good vibes. Any crystals that open those solar

plexus and sacral chakras – so citrine, red jasper, amber and tiger’s

eye – are perfect for this. However, gratitude is a personal practice

so anything that brings you joy, whether that’s a diamond obsidian

or a cotton friendship bracelet, will help with this circle of

abundance – just try to go for natural objects to keep the vibrations

high.

 

- Meditate for true focus. This can be as simple as counting your

breaths until you get to ten or inhaling for the count of four,

holding for the count of four, exhaling for the count of six, and

repeating five times. If you fancy a meditation that goes a little

deeper, you can find a gorgeous range of visualisations or guided

affirmations through Headspace or Youtubers like Yoga with

Kassandra.

 

- Write that list! If you’ve followed the above steps, we can guarantee

you’ll already be feeling heavenly so now taking the extra step to sit

back and really consider the beautiful things about your day will

feel euphoric. Suddenly Mondays aren’t so bad anymore, right?

 

THE GRUMPY ONE

Though we hate to admit it, sometimes there is no candle or crystal that

can distract from a racing mind. But even in these moments, there’s still a

place for gratitude. In fact, it’s probably in the darkest, door slamming,

social media deleting moments you’ll benefit from it the most.

 

- Start by writing an UNGRATEFUL list. When we try to repress or

run away from our grumpiness, it’s guaranteed to overwhelm us

even more. So instead, indulge in it. Lean into your bad mood and

write a list of everything you’re annoyed at (and if this list includes

people, please learn from every 90s teen film and don’t leave it

somewhere it can be found...).

 

- Now, alongside this list, find something you are grateful for in each

situation. For example, if your ungrateful list reads ‘feeling

overworked,’ this might become ‘grateful there are so many

opportunities right now and even though it’s hard, I’m handling it.’

 

- If you want to take it even further and you’re in the mood for some

positive action, you can make a third list of things you can do to

counteract the stressor. Trust us, that will feel impossible when

you’re in the middle of writing the ungrateful list (“This is the worst

thing in the world and there is literally no way it could get better

and no I’m not being dramatic, Mum”) but once you’ve found

something to say thank you for, this will feel much easier.

Therefore, ‘feeling overworked’ goes to ‘grateful for opportunities’

which in turn goes to ‘make a to-do list of things that need handling

today, tomorrow, and things I can leave till next week’

 

- Oh, and if your grumpiness is as a result of heartbreak and you’re

still agonising over an ex/ghost/gaslighter, write a list of all the

things you are grateful for from your time with them. We know, we

know, we hate them – but it’s impossible to move on from

someone when you’re still feeling that rage. So dig deep and come

up with even five things you’re grateful for from the experience

and you’ll finally be ready to make like Ariana and say “thank you,

next.”

 

Written by Emma Hodgkinson

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