I love the basic premise of that statement. I also love that it seems to have become more mainstream whether you’re a seeker or not.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is the same as seeing the glass as being half full. Optimistic. Looking at what you have and not what you don’t.
But the deeper meaning of the attitude and why it works so well, is that saying thank you for something stops the mind from complaining.
So for example. If I was hiking and I stepped in a puddle that soaked my boots and socks.
My mind would usually want to tell me how awful that was. How it would be nicer if I had warm dry socks. How I’m going to get blisters. How my life sucks. How everyone else has dry socks except me, so I must be a loser. How I’m clumsy. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had better boots. Maybe some more expensive Gore-tex boots, then that wouldn’t have happened. If I had a better job I’d be able to afford Gore-tex boots etc. etc.
The mind is merciless in how it tries to turn everything into a problem.
I hope everyone’s mind isn’t as mean as that, but that’s often what happens to some degree.
The mind will always look for problems (create problems) that it can solve and look to the future to solve them. The solution is always somewhere else.
If however, you simply say to yourself, “thank you for making my feet wet, now I can enjoy the sensation of squishy feet”. An attitude of gratitude.
Then it stops your mind dead in its tracks. How can it complain or find problems if you just said that you’re grateful?
You basically took control and told it that wet boots are not a problem. There’s nothing to fix. Nothing that could be better in the future because you just told it that you’re OK with wet feet.
A lot of the time, your mind has this inner dialog subconsciously, but it can have a very negative impact on our health and wellbeing. The more quickly you can shut it down and tell it that you’re OK with the current situation, the better.
I might not be able to afford that Lamborghini I’ve always wanted, but I can feel thankful every time I get on my bicycle. I might not be able to eat out in a restaurant every night, but I can be extremely grateful every time I eat. I might not be blessed with an amazing beach body physique, but I can be happy knowing that I can walk and talk.
We see the world around us and our mind wants what we don’t have. If we take control and are grateful for all the little things we do have, your mind has a hard time with that. It simply can’t operate in the moment, only looking to the future.
But happiness is here now. In all the little details, right in front of you.
If you have trouble sleeping. Listen to the thoughts that are going through your head and no matter how serious you think they are, just simply say, “thank you, I’m Ok with that” to each one as it passes through your mind.
You will find that your mind settles down quite quickly and you are able to find peace and finally fall asleep.
You can’t solve any problems while you’re supposed to be sleeping. If they’re real problems, they’ll still be there in the morning, but you will be refreshed and may find that your dreams provide the solution.
It’s like the old saying. “Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
The attitude of gratitude acts on the, “accept the things you cannot change”, level of that quote.
If you practice it diligently throughout your waking hours, you will notice that your mind shifts to a more positive attitude and slows down the incessant problem solving ramblings.
You’re well on your way to enlightenment at that point. Accepting that everything is the way it’s supposed to be.
Be kind to others.
Be kind to yourself.