Showing gratitude for nature, someone holding a flower

‘Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot’ There’s so much wisdom in this simple African proverb. In the hurly-burly of life how easy it is to dwell on the negatives, or get wrapped up in the difficulties, and not give thanks for what you have. How often do you press the pause button to count your blessings? How often do you say thank you to friends and family, and to the universe for all you have to be grateful for? Research shows that those who readily embrace gratitude feel more positive, calmer and happier. An attitude of gratitude is one of the first principles of mindfulness – embrace it this autumn for a calmer you.

Here are four easy steps to cultivating gratitude…

1.Notice what you are grateful for

Think back over the past few days and weeks and list things that have made you feel thankful. It could be the smallest things: flowers you see on your walk, the sound of children playing, sunshine dappled through trees, your dog running up wagging his tail, a friend’s nice text, a good film or tasty meal.

2. Consider why these things make you grateful

It can quite enlightening, even uplifting, thinking through your reasons – especially when you discover how many of those reasons have nothing to do with anything materialistic.

3. Connect with how you feel

Reflecting on how you feel when you think on why these things matter is one of the keys to true mindfulness. It helps you understand what is meaningful to you, creating a positive outlook whatever life throws in your path.

4. Express your thanks

Saying thank you out loud, or through your actions, lifts both your own mood and that of the person you’re thanking. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brief note to a work colleague, a text to your partner, or a bigger act of gratitude like donating to a good cause, expressing thanks engenders a greater sense of contentment in life.

If you’d like to cultivate an attitude of gratitude try jotting down these four steps in a notebook. Doing this in bed is a good way to end every day on a positive note, setting you in the mood for a more peaceful night’s sleep.