Today I had the privilege to be taken on a tour of The National Star College at Ullenwood near Cheltenham. In case you don’t know it, the college is for students with disabilities and aims to provide them with opportunities to realise their full potential in life, in whatever way suits them.
Here’s a quote from their website:
“At National Star, we’re driven by our vision for a world in which people with disabilities are able to realise their potential as equal and active citizens in control of their lives. This sits at the heart of everything we do, from the personalised and world-class learning we provide via National Star College to training, specialist services and our work in the wider community.”
What struck me most on the tour was the overwhelming emphasis on giving the students more choice. Often we take for granted just how much choice we have in our lives, when some of these students are working towards being able to communicate what they want and deciding on their own care plans. Imagine not being able to tell anyone how you’re feeling or what you want for breakfast! This visit has made me realise just how grateful I am for all the choices I get to make in and about my life.
Is It Possible To Have Too Much Choice?
Have you ever been in a supermarket trying to choose a toothpaste and felt like packing up and going home? So many toothpastes! I get overwhelmed when I have too much choice, do you? What a lucky position to be in, to have too much choice. It really makes you think doesn’t it?
When I started writing, this post was going to be about choice, but I guess what it’s really about is gratitude and not taking things like having choice for granted.
Let’s get practical then – how do I ‘be’ more ‘gratitude-y’ on a daily basis?
Easy! Make a list. You could grab a notebook and write out a list of every circumstance, thing and choice you have, but that sounds a bit like hard work to me.
How about something easier AND it will help you sleep better?
Ha! I thought so.
I call this Appreciation Sedation – because sometimes I’m asleep before I’ve finished!
How do I do it?
Every night after you get into bed, mentally run through your day and pull out moments and events you’re grateful for. Start from when you woke up and keep going until you run out of day (if you’re not already asleep by then!)
If you’ve had a hard day, you might have to try quite hard to find them, but believe me, those moments-to-be-grateful-for are there if you look – even if it’s as simple as being grateful that you woke up, that you can see, that you woke up in a bed.
The key thing here is to do it EVERY night
You may have read about something like this before, so you may be saying “Oh I already know that” but my question to you is…
Are you doing it every night?
All of these kinds of practices need to be done daily, a bit like showering – you don’t shower one day and then think that’s it for the month (I hope)! So you need to build it into your daily routine and remind yourself to do it – maybe with a reminder set on your phone or a post-it by the bed. It’s your choice! (and aren’t you lucky to have it?)
By the way, huge thanks to Ellen Watts for reminding me of this practice on her Cosmic Ordering Made Easy workshop recently – we all need a reminder now and then!
Why Practice Gratitude?
Well firstly, done at night as I’ve suggested, you’ll fall asleep more easily. Research shows. however, that regular gratitude practice will also cause you to:
- feel happier
- be more optimistic
- have more energy and vitality
- increase self-esteem
- be more resilient
For even more benefits, read this fab article from Happier Human to find out 31 benefits of having an attitude of gratitude.
Are You Up To The Challenge?
I hereby challenge you to do your Appreciation Sedation every night for a month and notice what happens. Are you up for it?
And as always, don’t believe a word I say – try it yourself! What have you got to lose?
That’s it for today – thanks for reading! Get more great tips like this sent straight to your inbox by subscribing here and get my free e-book ‘5 Steps To Meditation For People Who Can’t Meditate!’ as a thank you gift.