A 2014 survey by News Ltd of 50,000 Aussies found that 53 percent of people earning $200,000 a year felt either ‘angry’ or ‘frustrated’ at their cost of living. What the…?! Let’s get some perspective on this. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average wage in Australia is $78,832. If you plug that figure into globalrichlist.com, it shows you’re in the top 0.28 per cent of the richest people in the world by income. That’s right, even on an average wage you’re better off than 99.72 percent of the global population.
Ever tried to get hospital treatment in a third world country? I bet you’ve never, ever gone even two days without food (fasting aside) in a country where food is everywhere. Even in retirement, our government will give provide up to $35,000 per year (for couples) in age pension until the day we die.
These bigger things, however, often take precedence over my simpler gratitudes: living without emotional or physical pain, the love of my wife and kids, the roof over my head, a hot shower, flannelette sheets, freedom. Hell, I don’t even mind paying taxes. Why? because that’s my contribution by virtue of living in the greatest country on earth.
Being grateful requires a temporary paring-down of your emotional state to live in the moment and focus on the now. Being grateful is my meditation. I don’t sit cross-legged on the floor, rock back and forth or chant. But I will recognise the sun’s warmth on my back on a cold day, the buzz of a good workout or the tranquil tone of an ‘Asus2’ chord on my guitar.
I rarely write my gratitudes down either (as often prescribed by gratitude gurus). I have a more casual approach. I like to deposit in other people’s emotional bank accounts. Here’s what I do: throughout the day, I focus on two separate people – it maybe someone sitting opposite me on the train, someone at work or even someone passing me in the street. As I focus on them I say to myself “I wish for you to be happy”. That’s it. Letting off these daily ‘happy bombs’ never fails to bring a smile to my dial. I know that if I deposit happiness in others, the law of the universe will reciprocate.
What are you grateful for?
I guarantee when practicing gratitude your outer world will match the fabric of your inner world and things will seem a little less rushed and a little less important.
David Contarini is a passionate health advocate and the creator of the 50FIT Program.