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Episode 224: What COULD You Be Grateful For?


And hello to you, and welcome to the Richard Nicholls podcast, the personal development podcast series that's here to help inspire, educate, and motivate you to be the best you can be.

I'm Psychotherapist Richard Nicholls, and this episode is titled, what Could You Be Grateful For? And If you're ready. We'll start the show.

Hey there happy fans. It's a new month, and you know what that means. It's another episode from that overly cheery bloke again. Just what you want at 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning in April, although I doubt that very many of you listen the very second it comes out. Mind you, patron Jonathan. Hello Jonathan.

Long time no speak. He did say to me once that getting up in the mornings can be a drag on any day except Mondays at 6:00 AM Cuz that's when my patron only episodes come out. I've been making those for four years now, and it looks like this is what I do now. Public media takes up probably more of my time than my actual clients do now. What with Therapy Natters on a Wednesday.

My little bonus episodes on a Friday as well. Then there's my Patreon stuff on Mondays, and then these public episodes each month. It's a lot of work, but I wouldn't want it any other way. And from our patrons out there, I am genuinely grateful for your support and I want to make sure that you know and feel that. By reciprocating with content that makes you feel as grateful to receive it as I am for your support.

So. Quick question then, because I'm grateful for you, as well as being able to get access to a regular motivational podcast episode from me, what have you got to be grateful for today?

It's a question that is worth asking from time to time. Some people wake up every day and that's how they start their day.

Some ask themselves that before they go to bed, but there are no rules to this, but you might need to remind yourself sometimes. So whether it is once a week or whether it's every day. What are you grateful for today? It's a good place to focus the attention you see. Gratitude even about the simpler things helps to dilute down the frustrations about all the annoying things. And we do get caught up in complaining about the small stuff, which can easily become a habit of only seeing reasons to complain.

Rather than the solutions to our frustrations. We can develop these internal stories as to why our life is where it is, why we have anxiety, why we have depression, or why we can't change our job or our health. And why solutions to our problems can't be a priority to us because we don't have the time. I hear these things all the time in therapy sessions with people, and like I said, in a Patreon episode the other week, until you stop and say, okay, what am I gonna do about that? Then nothing's going to change, but it's a lot easier to start making those changes if you bring into your life a habit of seeing reasons to be grateful. It helps you to deal with the setbacks in a more constructive way, I guess. It prevents envy, prevents jealousy and holds back all those internal stories that we tell ourself, those negative Why? questions.

Why can't I get ahead in life? Why am I being held back? Why is everyone happier than me? And if you stop asking those questions you might find that you can look back and see why. Because you got in your own way, maybe. You know it's okay to want more from life. It's okay to look at where you are and think to yourself, this isn't enough. Having goals and a plan is healthy cause it gives you direction. But you can still be grateful for where you are.

Yet strive for more at the same time. By filtering your life so that you can focus easier onto the good things that are going to create a subconscious program running that makes it easier to see so many more opportunities to guide you onto your plan. Because if you've programmed yourself to look for reasons to feel left behind, or incapable, then that's what you'll see.

Our brain creates expectations. Our thoughts create neurological pathways in the brain that become unconscious to us. We probably never realize that we are looking for reasons to be angry, but we are. And we need to practice the opposite and deliberately look for reasons to be happy or grateful or just okay.

Normal. Fair to midling. Nothing special. That's fine. We don't need to be dancing like a cartoon, Tasmanian Devil all weekend to prove to ourselves that we are happy. I used to say it to my son quite a lot. You don't need to be me, you know. Being you is plenty good enough. And I don't need to say that anymore cuz he's 18 and nowadays the last person who wants to be is his daft old dad.

And maybe you need to hear that from time to time, that being you is good enough. So you don't have to keep up with the Joneses. You don't need lots of stuff in your life to feel happy. Stuff is just added extra. You can be happy and contented first. And I know that society doesn't want you to think that way, so it can be hard to challenge it. But challenge it you must. Because in all walks of life, no matter who you follow on Instagram or who you follow in real life. Someone wants you to be unhappy with what you've got. Whether it's your phone, your kitchen, your car, your house, your genitalia. Genuinely, that's not an exaggeration, is it? It's sad enough that so-called celebrities are gonna endorse appetite suppressants, but targeted adverts can mean that there are young women getting adverts for all sorts of body shaming things popping up on social media.

There isn't much left for capitalism to throw at women in particular to make them feel inferior to each other. Mind you, men aren't immune to these things either. Crikey, as soon as I went into my forties, my targeted adverts changed on social media. It used to be all protein powder and fitness clothing, and then overnight it went to baldness cures and nail clippers for arthritic hands. Which I mean, compared to what women get bombarded with every hour, I guess it's pretty easy to ignore, but in an age where people expect so much for free music, films, tv, podcasts, the money to fund those things has to come from somewhere. So this is only gonna get worse, folks. Just to warn you, but living in fear, living in anger or envy is great for business. It's even good for me as a therapist, I guess, if I didn't have a waiting list.

But there is a choice, isn't there? There's definitely a better way of thinking, feeling, acting and behaving because by living in a feeling of insufficiency or inadequateness, for want of a better word, we promote the idea to our unconscious to keep looking for more of the same. Well that works the opposite way around as well, by promoting sufficiency and prosperity in your life, you can begin to see more of the same. We begin to see the reasons to smile. We allow people to overtake us without feeling offended that someone thinks we drive too slowly. And better healthy perspectives on our experiences become second nature to us. So it doesn't feel as if the universe is always out to get us just because the traffic was slow, or the queue in the post office was long.

When you practice this every day, it dilutes down the fear and envy, the anger and the jealousy. You can't be grateful for life at the same time as being fearful of it. So when I asked you at the start of this episode, What have you got to be grateful for today? I wonder if the automatic answer was nothing. And if it was, let me ask it this way instead.

What COULD you be grateful for? What about being alive? What about music, literature, art? What about the people in your life, past, present, and those yet to come? You have some wonderful opportunities that you could be grateful for if you steer yourself in that direction.

There's a phrase I use with people sometimes, actually got it from the film Scarface.

It's amazing how you can see worthwhile stuff if you're open-minded. If you've seen it, you might remember this, but if not, now you don't need to. But the bent cop Mel, tells Tony Montana, he should smile more and enjoy himself because Every day above ground is a good day. And I'll say that sometimes just to make myself smile, let alone somebody else.

But it's true. Every day above ground is a good day. And if you can start each day with a mantra like that and spend just a few minutes as you make your lunch for work or drink tea or whatever, thinking about the things in life that deserve you to feel gratitude towards them. Whether that's simply that you are above ground, or the people in your life, or the fact that your coffee smells amazing, whatever, notice it.

Be aware of those things that deserve your attention and that you deserve to have your attention on them rather than worrying about whether you'll get made redundant or thinking about what might go wrong at some point in your future. When this becomes a habit, it's much easier to get yourself out of a bad mood if you woke up in one.

Cuz we do. We all do from time to time, just seem to get outta bed the wrong side and wake up grumpy. I know it's hard to just snap out of it, almost impossible sometimes. But with practice, you can have a more positive influence on yourself and move on quicker and easier. It just takes practice. Well, you have every day to practice that, every day to get up five minutes earlier if you have to, and spend it staring outta the window. Daydreaming about things worth daydreaming about.

Feeling stressed and under pressure doesn't come from the external world. It's not our boss or our kids that get us stressed. It's our thoughts, our reactions that do that. And by creating this gratitude attitude right at the start of the day makes it so much easier to see better perspectives and react differently to the things that could have been stressful.

You might still have some stress, some stressful emotional stuff, but you're less likely to continue to feed them and make them worse. And if your thoughts try to run away with you, you can acknowledge them and say, These are just thoughts. This is just emotion. This is not reality because gratitude is more than just saying thank you.

Being grateful doesn't come from the fact that somebody lent you a pencil. It's deeper than that. I mean, it can start with a pencil, but the gratitude comes from the relationship, the friendship being strong enough that somebody is happy to lend you a pencil. Having that person in your life and being aware of it.

That's gratitude and saying thank you doesn't really cover that. There aren't always words for experiencing gratitude. And we say Thank you just outta politeness, don't we? We say thank you just for letting someone do their job. I thanked a server for bringing me out a meal in a pub not so long ago. Am I grateful for that kind of.

I mean, he didn't do a very good job, if I think about it. He was quite slow at carrying the plates across the car park cuz we were outside under a marquee. Cause it was cold. He seemed inexperienced when he brought the drinks over. He was spilling them a little bit as he was walking. But nobody cared. We were just glad to be able to catch up with our friends.

The Thank you mate, that we would automatically say when he placed what was left of our drinks in front of us was just a default British thing to do. But I was grateful somewhat, but I was more grateful that I was in good company. I was more grateful that I had some friends to share a meal with and a few drinks laughing about what we've been doing throughout the 10, 15 years of friendship.

I'm not gonna thank them for being in my life unless I'm very drunk, cuz I don't need that. Gratitude is internal for the most part. It's a feeling rather than an action, but it's contagious. So if we can show someone else their value by thanking them just for being in our life, well I guess that makes the world a better place, doesn't it?

But not just for others. But selfishly for ourselves as well as we learn to be grateful, there's a domino effect from one thing to another. After all, we can't expect to find more things to be grateful for in life if we can't even find the time to be grateful for what we have in the first place. I first made notes for this episode back in 2019 after I'd attended a conference in Leicester. And I was writing about how grateful I was to have those colleagues in my life, even if it was just that we only met up once per year, face to face. And in my original notes, I was also writing about how grateful I was for the 40 or so patrons that I had and that I wanted to put as much effort into making episodes for just 40 people than for the thousands of you that listened publicly. And I genuinely do believe that if I hadn't been grateful for having just those 40 patrons, the episodes wouldn't have been good enough to keep people subscribing and supporting. I'd have been half-hearted and sloppy. And I wouldn't have then got the 200 patrons that I've got on Patreon now. I'd like 300. But that's not out of a lack of gratitude for what I do have.

It's because I use Patreon as a way of funding therapy for people that can't afford it. And there's a few more of those at the minute and I'd like to get them some help. I think that because I could value you. It helped you to value me, and because of that, everybody wins. So if you were thinking of pledging on my Patreon to show your gratitude, please do.

The link is in the episode description. You may well be helping to literally save someone's life. Otherwise, I'll be on the Therapy Natters podcast on Wednesday and there'll be a little bonus episode on Friday, as usual. You can find me splattered all over various social media places as well if you wanna find me on there.

So wherever you find me turning up next, I will speak to you then. Take care. Bye-bye.