You know it’s a buzz word when you see it plastered on the cover of every notebook going. For some I’m sure they work very nicely however for me and I’m sure many others having words like gratitude and abundance all over my stationary hardly inspires those feelings. In fact, when we find ourselves in a bit of a hole and let’s face it, we often do, the sentiments of gratitude often escapes us.

I firstly want to explain to you that I don’t like the word gratitude, it doesn’t do it for me! Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, which all sounds great at surface level but when you stop to think about it to be thankful suggests there is something to be thankful for and the sentiment of that suggests that there is both the presence of that ‘thing’ and the absence of it too. And so, gratitude may become a double-edged sword. I much prefer the word APPRECIATION.

Appreciation is the sheer unadulterated enjoyment of good qualities in someone or something. It is pure joy, I often prefer to take a few moments here and there to deliberate upon my appreciation. The feeling of appreciation is much different to gratitude, and I prefer to work off the feeling of appreciation. I guess when you really stop to think about it appreciation is based on the internal experience of something rather than the external having of something so perhaps we could say that it’s not dependant upon having something or set of circumstances.

This shift from gratitude to appreciation is the first step in a process I mindfully use to improve the way I feel. I use it often and find it particularly helpful when I can tell I’m feeling a little negative and I want to improve my mind set it’s become a valuable tool and I use it to massage my thoughts from in a hole to out of the hole.
So here I am in a proverbial hole, it’s dark and difficult to see the wood from the trees. In writing the above I’ve transitions from gratitude to appreciation and now I’m ready for the next step.

Go General!

When you might be having a moment, or a string of moments and you’re in the flow of things not going your way it feels near on impossible to turn straight to appreciation, using affirmations that are so completely out of reach they feel like a lie. To someone in the hole, ‘I am in control of my experience, I choose my life’s direction and every experience manifested is of my own creation’ feels awful. On the other hand, if in that moment you’re on top of your game and reach for that same affirmation it is going to feel incredible. The important thing here is to reach for something that’s believable and go from there. So, go general!

Appreciating someone’s qualities can be brilliant for a relationship but you can’t lie to yourself, if your frustrated to the eyeballs by something that’s been said or done how can you go straight into appreciating their qualities, it will work against you. So, go general! If you’re partner has been winding you up of late and you haven’t got a good word to say about him or her, but you think they’ve got a great bum, just appreciate the bum. Or if they always cook a delicious dinner, or wash up, or work hard, or listen to you or whatever that one thing is that gets you into the state of appreciation go for it!

Here I am, I’m in my lounge, my day so far has been terrible. It started last night with not being able to sleep and has transcended into a spiral of one small thing after another. So now going general I start to focus on the things I am appreciating at this moment in time;

‘It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining in the window and fresh air is blowing in from the window. (Good general start, it’s not personal, I can work with this.) Our house feels lovely and calm, it often does, I love the high vaulted ceilings it feels so light and airy. It may be small but it’s cosy and over the years it’s become a lovely home with lots of happy memories.’ (Feeling a bit better!) [Much better than ‘I want to put the whole house in the bin, it’s so untidy and there too much to do, I can’t possibly get this all done in a day, other people must have it so much easier…’ This stuff can work both ways it’s just about hearing which way your taking it]

‘This time of year can be stressful and that’s okay! There’s a lot to do and it’ll all be worth it. You can always simplify your plans if it becomes too much and you have two weeks to properly switch off and relax. It’ll be our first year spent completely at home with lots of things planned for our time off. There’s no need to be stressed, everything is going to work out and be fine. In fact better than fine it’s going to magical, for Nuala especially.

You better order that sequin skirt for your night out!’

And there we have it from a general starting point you can go anywhere, it takes practice but make it your practice. ‘Energy flows where attention goes!’- I forget where I read that, but I have learnt through experience the art of holding your attention can do wonders for the way that you feel.

I would have argued this not so long ago, I would have stuck up for my spiralling day, I would have fuelled the fire, stuck with those negative emotions and worked them through. I tend not to now, I don’t see the value in it, it is only with practice that I have been able to make this change and it has been rewarding. I use this little positive rampage for all situations and find it helpful when I want to achieve something that is just out of reach. Just climb the ladder of appreciation and before you know it you will be conjuring up the next thing that is just beyond reach and the next and the next.

It is my belief that it is not really important what we manifest, it is more important how we feel about what we manifest and through using the art of appreciation you can begin to reach for a better feeling thought and so a better feeling feeling and then improve your experience of the world around you just by holding your attention on something that makes you feel good.

I’d love to hear how this goes for you, give it a whirl and let me know by leaving a note below

Coat: Miss Selfridge available here. Trousers: Hush available here. Hush is one of my favourite brands at the moment, I’m always so pleased with quality, it’s feeds my obsession with things washing and wearing well! Boot: Penelope Chilvers (Last years)