Male orange-tip butterfly on cowslip © Claire Bailly
Male orange-tip butterfly on cowslip © Claire Bailly

If the recipe for happiness was made of very simple things then one of the ingredients for happiness could well be a plain ‘thank you’. More and more studies confirm that showing gratitude in any shape or form increases our level of happiness. One doesn’t need to be religious or to pray as such for it to work.

This thank you doesn’t even need to be directed at anybody. It can just be a simple thought acknowledging an appreciation for something in our everyday life. It might be someone’s nice words or smile, a beautiful flower in someone’s garden, or an attractive photo in a magazine. Anything at all!

According to recent research, being grateful on a regular basis, can boost your physical and mental health, strengthen relationships, and help us to keep disciplined and focused.

A good time to do is in the evening before bedtime. Think of anything positive in your life and say thank you. Sometimes it is a struggle to find something. During some recent training with the Mindfulness Association, we were given an exercise to do between sessions. We were to exchange three gratitudes every day with another participant.

Sometimes one of us could only write: ‘I’m thankful for my bed’. We knew what that meant, and it was rewarding and touching.

This simple act in our life can be accompanied with ‘take notice’, one of the steps in Cumbernauld Living Landscapes Five Ways to Wellbeing programme. We first need to look around and then find something to be thankful for.

It might seem a little bit superficial at first, but if you keep doing it routinely it will become second nature. I would recommend a little walk around the block or into one of our town’s many green spaces to find something small that we can just say ‘thank you for…’

Claire Bailly, Senior Project Officer

Cumbernauld LL