Can simply being grateful for the little things make you a better parent? I caught up with The Gratitude Project’s Angela Simpson to find out.
I have fitness fatigue. Not from actual fitness (I quite like exercise). My fitness fatigue is from the hundreds of so-called fitness gurus clogging up my Facebook feed plugging weekly programs to achieve a better body. 6 weeks to a Bikini Body, 8 Weeks to a Healthier You, 12 Weeks of Complete Starvation While Running Up and Down the Kangaroo Point Stairs 10 Times a Day to Achieve Half the Body of Miranda Kerr.
Granted, for some people they really work. For others, the only thing you lose is money from your back pocket, but hey, at least something is leaner in your life.
While everyone seems so focused on the outside, one fitness guru is focused on the inside, and by inside I don’t mean munching on mung beans while doing meditative squats.
This is different. Angela Simpson, a Gold Coast mum and founder of The Gratitude Project, has developed a strong following of humans who want all of the above, but she believes it needs to start in your mind first. Jumping on the weekly bandwagon, she has started The Gratitude Transformation – 6 Weeks to a Better Mind. It’s a program that will help you learn to be grateful first, and through grateful living, Angela believes the rest will follow.
Angela, I’m grateful to be speaking to you.
Ha! I’m grateful you are speaking to me!
Why have you started this?
I’m a health coach and I noticed a lot of people have tried diet programs and supplements hoping it will bring happiness. If they just get that perfect job or get that perfect body they feel happiness will follow. But then even if they achieve that, they still are not quite happy. What they are not doing is the inner work. So that’s where my concept comes from — if you get your mind right first, the rest will follow.
Does just simply being ‘grateful’ work?
Absolutely, if you start to be grateful for little things, like how incredible your body is. You blink without thinking, your heart beats without you doing anything, that’s amazing. And then you start to think ‘why would I want to smoke, or eat bad foods and damage this perfect amazing body?!’ Being grateful for simple things like how a cold glass of water feels when you drink it flows on to the bigger things.
Strange question, but how easy is it to be grateful naturally?
The science behind gratitude and gratitude practices and knowing that it’s not airy-fairy, it’s proven to work, is really important to understand. I show people proven results of grateful people and that can change your mindset first. Forgiveness is also an important thing to master — holding a grudge is not good for anyone. It darkens your soul, I believe. But being mindful of everything you do and see in everyday life and taking care of yourself first will start to put you in a better frame of mind for gratefulness and then it should start to flow naturally, but you do need to be consciously grateful first.
You believe we should be grateful for the little things and not so much the big things. Why?
I talk a lot about being grateful for that first glass of water you drink in the morning. We are very busy these days. I mean, I’m a mum and I’m doing this interview with my daughter on my lap, but we tend to live for the big things. The big wedding, the first big job, buying your first house, and they are all fantastic, but I recommend slowing down and not rushing through the day for the big moments. Slow down and notice what you are doing and if it feels good or not. The feeling of food before, during and after. Is what you ate making you feel better or worse? Be aware of the little happy moments with your kids or friends and those small grateful moments will lead you to a happier place.
Does that mean I should be grateful for things like toilet paper? That’s a little thing!
Ha! That’s the thing, I can’t tell you what you should personally be grateful for, although that’s good. Each person needs to find what you are grateful for. Really think about what you want to be grateful for. Not just the obvious things like a roof over your head or a car to drive or food to eat. Think about the people around you who do nice things for you, a stranger being kind, a friend helping you out, then take the time to tell them you feel grateful for that gesture. You will see a flow-on effect. The sum of little things brings the big thing and that’s a life of happiness.
For more of Angela’s ideas, visit the-gratitude-project.com.