As humans we have an insatiable appetite for more. More money, more food, more time. Wanting more isn’t inherently bad, it’s good to want more food if you haven’t eaten for the day! But the trick is to realise that once we get what we want, we won’t be satisfied, at least not for very long.
We will always want more, even if it is only our next meal or breath. One way to combat our insatiable appetite for more is to practice gratitude.
The French word for gratitude is reconnaissant, literally meaning ‘to recognise’. And that’s all gratitude is, a recognition of what we already have. Gratitude is not some weird mantra or ritual that takes years to learn. It’s simply the process of looking around you and reminding yourself of what you already have.
The more we remind ourselves of what we already have, the less we are made to feel inferior by what we don’t.
It is a practice though that has to be done regularly. A good habit to be built. It’s a practice because we can very quickly forget, just like a muscle quickly atrophies without the right stimulation.
Gratitude can be the antidote to temptation. The temptation to spend more money on clothes or gadgets. To change our job for a seemingly better one. Or to end one relationship for another.
Gratitude isn’t a panacea. It won’t make something better if the underlying issues run deep. Take the example of a relationship – if you’ve had a fairly superficial argument about something, practicing gratitude for all the good things your relationship provides and can help you see the true value but it won’t help you overcome neglect or abuse; and nor should it.
Here are some other ways to be grateful:
Keeping a gratitude journal – write down three things at the end of the day that you are grateful for.
Giving thanks before a meal for the food itself or something you are grateful for that day.
Telling yourself that today is your favourite day, and every day thereafter. This has the effect of bringing you into the present and reminding you that today is something to be grateful for.