the Attitude of Gratitude
Can being thankful change your life?
This section of the blog is just for teens and young adults who want to know more about the Spark. Search ‘Tips for Teens’ on the blog to find practical advice, simple tools and inspiration to help you stay connected to your Spark and let your inner light shine.
Being thankful sounds a bit, well, obvious, doesn’t it? Yes, we all know it’s nice to be grateful and to say thank you when someone does something for you, or gives you a nice present (I like chocolate if anyone’s in the giving mood?!) But can gratitude – feeling grateful – actually change your life?
I’m no scientist, but I am an expert on me. I’ve lived with me for a very long time, after all. And I’ve learned that being grateful – properly grateful – makes a massive difference to my life. Not only that, gratitude helps me to connect with and express my unique Spark-self.
Here’s the back story
One Christmas my mum gave me a shiny new journal. It was beautiful – crisp white pages with enough space to write under each day of the year, with gorgeous illustrations and colours and little positive phrases throughout. It was the kind of journal I usually fall in love with and then put in a drawer because I don’t want to ‘ruin’ it by using it. Duh.
But that year I was determined the journal would fulfil its Christmas destiny. I would write in it every night with all the things I was grateful for that day. I’d read somewhere that it was a good habit to get into, and could help you feel more positively about life in general. I was a bit skeptical, but thought I’d give it a go. Nothing to lose, right?
I’m grateful for…sunshine?!
At the beginning it was pretty hard. It felt a bit silly to list all the things I was grateful for, and some days I didn’t feel like there was anything to be particularly thankful about. Those ten little blank lines laughed back at me and my inability to think of anything to write. I pushed through it – I actually wrote one day that I was grateful for the sun shining out of sheer desperation of finding one single thing to fill that space. But when I thought about it, I actually was pretty thankful for a lovely sunny day.
After about ten days of pushing myself to do this and listing anything I could think of, something shifted. I’d had a pretty good day and so I wrote about it, properly. It wasn’t a bullet-point list anymore, it was a proper paragraph. I easily filled the ten lines of space, and I felt this warm glow somewhere in my stomach as I fell asleep thinking about what a great day it had been.
And then here’s where it gets interesting. The next day was a ‘normal’ day – nothing special happened – but that night my gratitude flowed much more easily again. It felt like a real feeling inside me, sort of like warm fuzzies but more real than that. I actually felt thankful for all of the things that had happened that day. And on it went – each night I wrote, each night it became easier. Even on bad days I could think of something to be grateful for, maybe even thinking that each ‘bad’ experience could teach me something, or could help me to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
HERE’S THE CRAZY PART
I did this for a year. I missed some days, sure, but on the whole I have a journal full of gratitude on my shelf. And you know what? My life changed. I became far more positive, I felt much happier and I didn’t complain as much. I didn’t feel so negatively about getting out of bed in the mornings, and I felt as though I could deal better with setbacks. It was crazy! So simple, but it made such a huge difference because instead of focusing on the things I didn’t want to see in my life and giving them more energy by complaining about them, I was focusing on the things I did want in my life. And the more I focused on those positive things, the more they grew and showed up in my life. Pretty cool, huh?
I challenge you
It may all sound a bit airy-fairy. It may sound too good to be true. Well why not try it? I challenge you to keep a gratitude diary or journal for three weeks. Twenty-one little days. Every day. Then share what happened for you over on our Instagram page or with our Facebook community.
What does all this have to do with your Spark? Well it’s harder to get in touch with our Spark when we’re feeling angry at the world or frustrated or in a negative spiral. Those feelings are legitimate at times, but our Spark is found in the space beyond our human mind that worries and complains. Our soul knows that there is no end to the joy and love and wisdom in the universe for us to experience, we just have to connect with it. And feeling grateful is a really good place to start.
Hi, I'm Nikki
I created The Spark when I realised I’d lost touch with my own inner light, buried under years of over-work and overwhelm. After witnessing far too many children becoming smaller versions of themselves, shrinking back, disconnecting and becoming disillusioned, I’m on a mission to ignite my Spark to help children to find theirs, changing the way we nurture small humans into being.
What started as a journey of self-discovery is growing into a global movement to create a better childhood for all children and young people. Will you join me?
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