Handful of Hope - Gratitude As A Way Of Life

When times are tough, it is helpful to hold onto what gives us hope, energy and fulfilment.

A simple way to do this, rooted in ancient spiritual practice as well as modern positive psychology, is to ‘count your blessings’ – the little things each day we are grateful for.

To have A Handful Of Hope each day, take a few minutes at night or in the morning, cast your mind back over the day and count up to five things for which you are grateful, or things which gave you hope, energy, life. You might find it helpful to keep a notebook handy to write them down, so you can look back and see if you notice any patterns or changes over time. You might find it helpful to talk through what you notice with someone you trust.

Research has shown that if you do this each day for 21 days it has long-term benefits for the way we see ourselves and our future, and respond to the daily challenges we face. Even weekly reflection on this simple practice has been shown to be beneficial. To find out how to make a habit of gratitude, and become a happier person, watch this short video: ‘Saying Thank You’ by positive psychologist Dr Tal Ben Shahar:

One of the inspirations for this spiritual practice from the Christian tradition is the Examen by Ignatius of Loyola. A beautifully simple book which explores how you can practice this in daily life is Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life by Denis, Sheila and Matthew Linn.