How Grateful Are You?

poppies bannerNovember has been designated a month for Gratitude in both the USA and Britain for different reasons. In Europe we have a Day of Remembrance on the 11th and as we see the Remembrance poppies gradually appear on our streets we are reminded of ordinary people just like us who gave their lives so that we can live in peace.

Gratitude and giving thanks are incredibly powerful mindfulness practices that we can use in our lives to increase our wellbeing and nourish relationships. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, and equally as easy to let this slip when life takes over or gets challenging. This of course is when we need to flex our gratitude muscle the most.

Sharing our gratitude with others is so important and research in the field of Positive Psychology shows that we are more likely to feel and express gratitude when shown kindness by a stranger than towards those whose lives we share:

When was the last time you thanked your partner for being there for you?!

How do you think they might feel if you took that one step towards them?

For the past twenty years I’ve been marking each November by re-focussing on my daily gratitude practice, and more recently I’ve been using the power of social media to keep myself on track. Making a pledge to post something different that I’m grateful for every single day of November on Twitter or Facebook really helps get me back on track!

This year I’m using Instagram to give myself the extra little challenge of finding a nice image to go with each reflection. If you fancy following me you can check if I manage it, and I’d love you to join in! Or if you prefer to receive prompts there’s an online 30 Day Gratitude Challenge (not run by me) that you could sign up for .

And of course gratitude goes hand in hand with Kindness. There are lots of groups and projects springing up around kindness and compassion, with an excellent Facebook group in my area of Tyne and Wear that encourages members to both carry out and notice acts of kindness in their everyday lives.

So go ahead and try it, ask yourself once a day every day of November .. what am I grateful for right now?

 

Gratitude-Month

References
Gratitude and Positive Psychology: What is Gratitude and What are the Benefits of Gratitude? Meade, Claire. http://positivepsychology.org.uk/gratitude/ accessed 8 November 2017.

TESTIMONIALS

client testimonials

I feel fortunate to work with each and every one of my clients, seeing people leave after their final session feeling more at ease is incredibly rewarding.

I don’t ask my clients for testimonials but every now and then I’m lucky enough to receive some beautiful thank you cards and gifts, so here’s a look, with the bits that might identify people removed for reasons of confidentiality:

May 2022 .. “Thanks so much for all your support and gentle guidance, it’s been so helpful and has given me a lot of hope for the future.”

March 2022 .. I really benefited from my sessions with you and truly feel as though I have a better understanding and more control over my thoughts and emotions, so thank you for that. I’ll also definitely keep you in mind if ever a friend or family members is in need.”

March 2022 .. “Just wanted to say thank you again for all your help and guidance.”

February 2022 .. “Deciding to get help with you back in 2019 was honestly one of the best decisions of my life, it’s been transformative. If anyone ever needs help like I have I genuinely couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather recommend. Right now I’m doing pretty well but if I’m ever in need again I will be in touch.”

November 2021 .. “I wanted to thank you for all your help these last few months. Your support has been so important for my recovery.

June 2021 .. “I will always treasure and be grateful for the many gifts and strategies you have given me over the years. Above all you have shown me how to love myself. Thank you.”

March 2021 .. “I have found our conversations useful and although [redacted] hasn’t been there like we’d planned, you have provided new ideas and approaches which I greatly appreciate.”

February 2021 .. “Armele has a relaxed and friendly manner and I found it easy to talk to her. I have been experiencing a difficult time and she has helped me to get through this by being a good listener, asking appropriate questions and helping me to reframe issues.”

January 2021 .. “I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your support this year. You have quite literally turned my life around. Thanks to you I feel happier, more confident and in control of my anxiety.  Our sessions have helped me to enjoy this precious time of being a new mum and to live happily in the moment with my little family. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly express my gratitude for that. I hope you appreciate and feel proud of the amazing impact your work has on people’s lives. “

January 2021 .. “Talking to you .. helped me so much last year. Thank you again Armele for all of your help.”

December 2020 .. “You have been such a powerful and positive help to me. My relationship .. is on a stronger, clearer, and more mutually loving basis. We are both grateful for your care and support in holding us both. You were also helpful to me personally and I am so pleased we chose you as our counsellor. Thank you.”

December 2020 .. “You don’t know how often I think to myself ‘what would Armele ask/say’.  It really works as in general although things have been challenging I’m recognizing if I’m going downhill and can turn things around .. thanks for your help in turning my life around. The difference to me and the family is felt every day and I love that!”

December 2020 .. “Lots of things we worked on have had lasting effects. Obviously life has its bumps (especially at the moment), but I do feel I have a better perspective on life and my relationship .. Thank you very much for your help with this. If I have further challenges, you would be my first choice for help.”

August 2020 .. “Hi Armele, Thank you so much for all your help, we both appreciate it massively.”

April 2020 .. “Thank you again for all your help .. our sessions really feel like they represented a turning point for me. Personally I am feeling much more confident and settled in myself. I feel more like the choices I make are within my control and am more confident about ‘being myself’ within that. I was reflecting the other day how I would have been feeling .. and it made me realise how much stronger and happier I am now – much more able to cope with the unexpected and change. Thank you so much again for all your help.

March 2020 .. “Thank you very much for your email .. I am finding your observations and questions very thought provoking and insightful. I think I feel our emails are an important support to my life because you make me think, reflect on important aspects you observe.

October 2019 .. “Thank you for .. our work together .. I will work on consolidating the work we’ve been doing .. Thanks again for everything.”

July 2019 .. “Thank you for all your understanding and help you have given me over the last few weeks.”

July 2019 .. “Thanks Armele! The sessions have been really helpful.”

March 2019 .. “Thank you very much for everything it’s much appreciated.”

December 2018 .. “A huge thanks for the care, compassion and skill you have shown me.”

December 2018 ..“Thank you for being my ghosts of Christmas past, present and future!”

December 2018 .. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done .. for helping me find my light.”

November 2018 .. “We found the counselling helpful and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you.”

October 2018 .. “Thanks for all your help.”

May 2018 .. “Armelle. Appreciate your help. Thanks again.”

March 2018 .. “Thank you for all your support over the last few months. I couldn’t have got where I am now without you!”

December 2017 .. “Thank you for helping me to become a better person.”

May 2017 .. “I believe that my sessions have been very helpful and I am in a better place to move forward in my relationships.”

April 2017 .. “Many thanks Armele”

February 2017 ..“Thank you so much for all your help. I couldn’t of done it without you.”

December 2016 .. “I just wanted to say thank you for all your help, support and guidance over the past year or so. Thank you for believing in me.”

July 2016 .. “Dear Armele, Thank you for being a rock to me! I cannot thank you enough for helping me see beyond unfairness, through obstacles and among good and not so good memories!”

June 2016 .. “I want to take the opportunity to say a HUGE thank you .. You’ve no idea what a massive difference you’ve made in my life. I thought really carefully about what we discussed & you made me that much braver .. My kids have noticed a marked difference in terms of how I deal with situations & I just feel so much better all-round .. I just want to say how grateful I am for your time.”

May 2015 .. “I wanted to write something to explain how thankful I am for all the help given me, now that my need for it has come to an end. The impact our sessions have had on me has been enormous. .. I hold you in such high regard as you are .. an outstanding practitioner.”

April 2015 .. “I can’t thank you enough for all of your help and support .. I put everything in place that you suggested and followed your Action Plan and we made some very positive steps and progress this weekend.”

March 2015 .. “Talking has been really helpful, thank you.”

February 2015 .. “To Armele, thank you for all your support over the last few months. I couldn’t have got where I am now without you!”

December 2014 .. “Thank you for being there for me and listening when I needed it.”

March 2014 .. “Dear Armele, thank you so very much for all your help, understanding and kindness. Thank you for being my councillor, but most of all, thank you for being my friend.”

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Gratitude

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

William Arthur Ward

Something often missing with couples who are experiencing difficulties is gratitude. It’s easy to take for granted all the little things our partners do for us every day and focus on the things they do wrong, the dishes in the sink, the unmended cupboard door .. but what if we take a moment to think about all the things they are doing right?

Since 2000 scientists have been finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
More joy, optimism, and happiness
Feeling less lonely and isolated

Gratitude has two key components: firstly it reminds us that there are gifts and benefits we’re consistently receiving from our partner and those around us.

Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, writes “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”

The second part of practising gratitude is to express it, to acknowledge the other people who give us so many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives each day.

November is Gratitude Month, and I will be marking each day of this month by keeping a gratitude journal, noting down something different each day and meditating on it.

To start your gratitude practise, take just a few minutes each day to think of at least one thing you’re grateful to your partner for .. take note, some days this will be easier than others! ;-D

Once you’ve got this down find creative ways to let your partner know how much you appreciate what they do .. a hug and a thank you, or a note left in their lunch box to find at work?

This can also be a good exercise when you’re frustrated with your spouse and about to explode! Take some time out to remember what they do for you, and when you’re ready to face them start off by reminding them how much they do, before letting them know that broken cupboard door is driving you crazy!

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I love to hear what you think about the topics raised in my blog, and how you apply these in your life. Do leave Comments below or get in touch using my Contact details.