“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus
In times of peril and confusion, such as we currently are, it is important to remember the simple pleasures in our lives and to practice gratitude for all that we have that is good. We have just had a lovely hot summer, and with the air now getting colder and the days shorter, it is only natural for us to mourn for the lovely hot summer that we have just had. Indeed, if we are further restricted over the coming months, the prospect of at least being able to get outside may seem a little less appealing that it has been of late.
But hold up there! There is always something to appreciate, and our collective wellbeing and resilience depends on us both noticing and being grateful for those things. Even with the pandemic still in full swing, and with all the madness that comes with it, there are, and always will be, plenty of wonderful things to appreciate about the autumn. Let’s remind ourselves of a few of them…
1. Cosiness and Warmth
Have you ever stopped to stare out of the window at the rain? Have you ever closed your eyes and listened to the cracking of a fire and the holing of a distant wind at the same time? On a cold night, have you ever hidden yourself beneath a blanket with a hot drink and a good book? These are all things that belong firmly in the grips of autumn and winter, and things that you do not get to appreciate in mid-June when it is 30 degrees outside. The juxtaposition of the harshness of the world on the other side of your front door, and your own safe and cosy space is one of the true pleasures of our long dark nights.
2. No Sweat
We have just enjoyed a long, hot summer. Wonderful weather is, of course, a wonderful thing, and should be enjoyed when it is here. However, if you are anything like me, you will have been craving a cool breeze or a rainy weekend at many a point over the last 6 months, especially when confined to the indoors. As nice as heat is, you might also want to consider how nice lovely, mild, sometimes drizzly and grey, British weather can be. I, for one, am rather enjoying wearing a jumper in the house and listening to the comforting whistle of the wind.
3. Hearty Food
Nothing boosts your resilience and wellbeing, nor fills you with warmth and comfort like a hearty plate of food. Gone are the days of light salads, picnics and ice cream (though they will be welcomed back with open arms around May). Now is the season of pies, soups, stews and hot toddys.
Every season has a colour palette, and the rusts, reds, yellows and oranges of autumn come but once a year. The crispness of fallen leaves and the hue of the now dormant plant life is somewhat majestic. An autumn walk is not like a walk at any other time of year; still mild enough to be comfortable and full of colour.
5. Coats and Jumpers
Do you ever miss your winter coat? I put on my favourite sheepskin jacket last week and felt like I was greeting an old friend; I had really missed wearing it. I have always preferred autumnal and wintery clothing; jumpers, jackets, coats, hats and scarves, there is something very safe and protective about them. When was the last time you wore your favourite jumper?
Practising gratitude is not hard. All that you need to do is be conscious of those things that you are pleased about, the good things in your life, and to take a moment or two to focus on them every day. Our wellbeing is boosted when we appreciate positive things; this also helps our resilience and our general outlook. Here are a few simple things you can do to practice gratitude every day…
Meditate every day. It needn’t be a huge deal. All you need to do is close your eyes for five minutes every morning and focus on something you appreciate, and to give thanks for the new day.
Keep a journal. Write down all the things you are grateful for in your life. They can be big or small, and you can write every day or every week.
Family Gratitude. Why not, at dinner time, give every family member an opportunity to voice something that they are grateful for today?
Gratitude is important, and can be practised and found every day. Practising it regularly is a vital ingredient to your ongoing resilience, wellbeing and happiness.
By Chris Thomson
Meditation offers a fantastic opportunity for practising daily gratitude. Here is how to get started… Beginners Guide to Meditation
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