Mindfulness & focusing on Gratitude
Building on from my last blog around mindfulness coaching focusing on happiness, I thought it important to explore a little further, coaching our mindfulness thinking towards gratitude. We previously discussed that it’s important to start and end the day by being grateful. This means not just being grateful for all the good things that happen, but every experience you have. All of life is learning and when we begin to split off into ‘just wanting good experiences’, we are unprepared when things become difficult and they are more uncomfortable to manage. The point of mindfulness coaching work is to cultivate a present-centred mind which does not get caught up in wanting things a certain way, hence the importance of acceptance.
Coaching Mindfulness Towards Wholesome Gratitude
One way that we like to see ourselves as being grateful is to compare ourselves with others; ‘this person is suffering more than me therefore I am grateful that this is not me’. To feel that to think of another person suffering more than I is a turning away from my humanity. If one person suffers we are all suffering. The question I am asking here is, who has room for thanks when another person suffers though us being grateful? The task at hand is to accept all that comes our way via mindfulness, and be grateful for our whole experience. In discomfort there is always great learning and a chance to let go of what has been bothering you. Within our personal struggles, growth can take place and we can be grateful for that.
Mindfulness & Gratitude in Action
Here is an example and a true story of what I mean, mindfulness in action. A friend of mine arrived back from holiday to find he had been broken into and the ‘offender’ had stayed in his flat for a few nights.
The shopkeeper who owns the flat asked him to check what had been taken and to my friend’s surprise all the missing items were things he needed to let go of but was struggling to do so. There was an old laptop, a camera, a kindle and a razor. Once we began to reflect upon the situation my friend told me that this had – in the long run been beneficial to him in terms of getting rid of clutter he did not need – he had begun to exercise mindfulness. He began to clear out the clutter he had been putting off for some years, in fact he was now grateful of the opportunity to reconsider his feelings of anger and fear and began to look at the situation from a new perspective. The feelings of anger and fear were replaced by feelings of acceptance, and a feeling of being grateful for the opportunity to reconsider matters.
He had, through mindfulness, recognised that holding onto clutter that he did not want or need was lurking in the back of his mind, causing him to nag himself that for his own lack of action and forward thinking. Now that the clutter had gone he had no need to worry about clearing it out and was now ready to introduce similar attitudes and processes into his life – an expansion of his mindfulness was in action.
It’s always surprising how carrying unfinished tasks in our minds can have such a negative effect on our emotional well being. Whilst my friend’s experience of being a victim of theft was unpleasant, he transformed a negative experience into a positive experience via his own focus on mindfulness, which had a positive effect on his life, for which he was grateful.