How to start a gratitude journal

Gratitude journaling: A powerful practice that we must follow to live a healthy, wealthy and happy life!

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Keeping a #Gratitude Journal can bring a miraculous change in our lives. It not only reduces our stress levels and promotes self-growth, but also brings in a sense of well being while filling our lives with abundance. It helps enforce the habit of being grateful in our lives. More than often we go on grumbling about our jobs, spouses or our finances till it becomes a part of our personality. We become negative and feel that we are the victims of all the problems that exist in this world. Life seems so unlucky for us and we complain saying, ‘Why me?’ But it is not too late to change and we can cultivate the feeling of gratitude till it becomes a daily habit in our lives.

This is where gratitude journaling comes in.

Things to write in a gratitude journal

So what is gratitude journaling? It is a practice of keeping a journal where we write three to five things that we are grateful for on a daily basis. We must keep in mind though that whatever we write must not be automated and repetitive. When we write about the things we are grateful for, we must also have the feeling of appreciation attached to it. If it becomes mechanical and we write just for the sake of it, we become immune and this does not help to bring a shift in our consciousness.

On the other hand, when we focus on the feeling of appreciation we shift our mindset to the positive side of things. This brings a positive impact in our personal vibration. This positive vibration radiates through our aura and we generate it to the universe.

The universe picks up our vibration of appreciation for all the good things that show up in our lives and thereby gets the message that we want more of this. It, in turn, helps us to create and generate more of this goodness in our lives. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have when we pay attention to all the positive influence and things in our lives, we inevitably attract more of it.

This practice is especially very important to follow during our troubled times, however trying or difficult it might be. Mostly because it is during this time that we need our lives to change for the better in a positive and powerful way. When we hold on and have faith in the positive side of things, only then can we generate a positive outcome in our lives.

We can start writing about the small things that we are grateful for. Like for e.g., it may be a sibling’s phone call that assures us with a sense of security that our family is around whenever we need them. Or we can mention about the new self-help book that touched us and gave us an insight into a problem we were facing.

During our difficult days when we turn back the pages of our gratitude journal and re-read it, we will feel more appreciative about our lives and realize that there is so much to be thankful for.

The miracle of gratitude journaling

Writing makes us calmer and centered as it helps unclutter our thoughts on paper. We develop a sense of objectivity as we stop worrying about a problem and start viewing it as a third person. The journal is like our best buddy whom we can spill our innermost thoughts and talk our heart out. We become relaxed as it helps release our pent-up frustrations and we feel understood. As we connect with our thoughts and try to make a sense of them, we receive more insight. This promotes awareness and helps us achieve self-actualization. While we pour our thoughts on paper, we are more ‘present’ in that moment.

We become mindful and less worried about the past or future. This pouring of our emotions on paper helps reduce our frustrations, anger, and pain. We attain more clarity to our emotions and this helps to organize our thoughts better. Our intuition and creativity sharpen as this practice activates the right side of our brain.

#Writing things we are grateful for helps fortify our sense of gratitude. Our state of well-being increases and at the same time it enhances emotional healing. During this process of writing grateful thoughts, a downstream of positive thoughts from the universe engulfs our mind and spirit. We do away with uncertainty, doubt, and negativity, while our connection with the universe is further reinforced.

It is a pure and wholesome connection as the universe channelizes with us unhindered. While it talks to us, it reflects back its vibration on us which pours out in the form of infinite abundance. We live our lives as per the one we mentally created with the universe and it will have everything that we had desired, coupled with that sense of gratitude.


Why you should join a book club

Book clubs are remarkably effective in terms of developing your social, intellectual, and communication skills


Are you passionate about reading? Are you always on the lookout for another book nerd to discuss the latest book you read? Do you think that besides reading, you need to add social flavor in your life? This is where a book club comes in and you will find that it can enrich your life in more ways than one.

A book club diversifies your choice of books and makes reading a priority

You find yourself reading a wider range of books as each member gets to choose one. You might be a vampire buff, but you find yourself mentally plowing through “Anna Karenina.” Or maybe you have a penchant for romance novels, but in no time you are exploring a science fiction.

You might find yourself reading that classic that you could never make time for. Then again, your reading buddy can keep you motivated through a lengthy and demanding Ayn Rand novel. Your reading experience is enriched as you explore different genres while your mind opens up to new perspectives. You will gain more insight when you are exposed widely to an interesting cross-section of discussions from people of different backgrounds.

With the demands of modern life, it can be a challenge to pick up that book lying on the shelf for months. This is where a book club fills that gap because once you join one you will be cornered to prioritize your reading time. You will find yourself mentally booking that time – maybe just after your lunch break when you need to unwind or maybe a few minutes before you hit the bed.

Reading becomes a goal and you feel a sense of achievement when you tick it off on your daily to-do list or maybe four times a week. This commitment to keeping up with the other members of your book club deepens and makes you more disciplined about your reading habits.

Book clubs enrich your social life

You get to make new friends. As we leave school or university and start our lives as homemakers, self-employed individuals, or business owners, meeting new people becomes a challenge – especially the ones with the same interests. Even if we do, it is just on a superficial level as we find that there is no common thread to connect us. With #Book Clubs not only do you get to meet new people, communication becomes easier as you talk about something you are passionate about, and listen to each other’s thoughts and opinions. Meetings at a regular interval coupled with shared chit-chat and laughter over a cup of tea or snacks help foster that bond among the members.

Once you finish reading a book, you are dying to talk about it with anyone who shows an inclination to listen.

Instead of dumping your views on people who feign polite interest, you will find like-minded people in the club to discuss the plot, the protagonist or the climax.

It gives you a break from the usual routine as you meet members at their homes or at a favorite restaurant. Conversations over tea or lunch can be simply relaxing and keep you rejuvenated for the next few weeks. You tend to become socially active and adept as you meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. You grow as a human being and mature emotionally, thereby enhancing your mental and spiritual health. You often build lifelong friendships through these clubs.

Book clubs help to hone your intelligence and boost your communication skills

You may be shy, especially at gatherings like clubs and parties. Book clubs make it easy to break the ice as you will find yourself easily discussing topics that you love and are knowledgeable about. Your #Communication Skills improve by leaps and bounds with continuous practice at every meeting.

You will be contemplating deeper issues brought to the table by different members. You will find your adrenaline flowing as you get involved in riveting discussions and are intellectually stimulated. This creative outlet for your thoughts will make you feel nurtured through mind and body. You will be exposed to critical thinking and debate the finer points about society and the world at large. Regular contact with books also enriches your vocabulary and writing skills.

At first, your confidence may be shaky and lacking as you voice your opinions after a lot of thought. But gradually with practice, your public speaking skills improve. You also get to learn a lot by observing others who are skilled in this platform. You know when to avoid a faux pas or a socially unexpected behavior like pushing your opinion and cutting off other members even before they finish what they have to say.

You are free to be honest. You can voice your thoughts to an audience who is always open for a difference of opinion or perspective. These kinds of experiences are psychologically positive and self-revelatory. It liberates your mind and heart, while alleviating the stress of the daily grind.

‘Geronimo Stilton,’ a great series to encourage reluctant readers and beginners

This well-known series has proved to be a great pick for children when it comes to initiating an interest and love for reading.

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With the massive influx of video games, it has become increasingly challenging for our children to get into the habit of reading. This is even more pronounced where young boys are concerned. This summer break I was amazed to see my two boys suddenly getting into reading in a big way and the books were none other than the popular children’s books of “#Geronimo Stilton.” The mother in me was excited to see this budding interest in her boys. Seeing the older one immersed in these books somehow influenced the younger one too and in no time they were devouring one book after another.

I had already stacked our bookshelf with children’s and middle-grade books but had despaired for a long time when they hadn’t shown any inclination to read.

Suddenly all that changed. They started excitedly discussing where to get the next stack of books – possibly from their friends in the neighborhood or maybe their schoolmates. What was it that built this sudden penchant for these books when they were so reluctant to read the children classics or the usual famous ones of Enid Blyton like the “Famous Five” and the “Secret Seven?” My nephew, another “Geronimo” fan, told me that it was the maps, factoid boxes, the treasure hunts and vibrant pictures that kept him engaged. My younger son said the dialogues made him laugh really hard in addition to loving the colored fonts while my older son loved the suspense and twists the stories entailed.

As I researched, I found a common thread as to why “Geronimo” was universally popular among children. The colorful illustrations, multi-shaped fonts, amusing dialogues accompanied by hilarious adventures were the main reason this series received a worldwide appeal.

It is a series about a mouse named Geronimo Stilton. The writer Elisabetta Dami narrates the series through Geronimo’s perspective who lives in New Mouse City, the capital of Mouse Island. Most of the story is from a mouse’s point of view like when he exclaims, ‘cheese slices,’ because he hates Monday mornings or brushes his teeth with ‘cheddar-flavored‘ toothpaste. Geronimo is a publisher of one of the most famous newspapers on Mouse’s Island, The Rodent’s Gazette, although most of the time he keeps getting entangled in his crazy adventures. The other characters accompanying him in his travels are his sister, nephew, and cousin, bringing in a family dynamic spattered with silly squabbles and repartee throughout the entire story. His sister Thea Stilton who works as a correspondent on Rodent’s Gazette is the gusty one and often teases her brother about his nervous temperament.

Geronimo Stilton stands out in the reluctant reader boy book category

Amongst the reluctant readers‘ category, boys prove to be even more challenging and getting them to cultivate the habit of reading can be an uphill task.

Sadly, in the world of literature there is a gender bias because when it comes to the choice of books, boys are often found to prefer those where the protagonist is a male. They prefer “Harry Potter,” “Horrid Henry,” “Jungle Book” and “Hardy Boys” but scoff at books like “Malory Towers,” “Heidi,” “Nancy Drew” and all those with main female protagonists. Meanwhile, girls show no preferences whatsoever and are ready to read any kind whether the protagonist is a male or a female. Hence the best part of this series is that it appeals to both the genders.

Reluctant readers into book-lovers

Here with Geronimo acting as a journalist and Thea playing the detective, there is a huge action element involved, providing children with a lot of thrills and fun-filled adventures. The use of vibrant graphics and illustrations enhances the reading experience of the young readers. The colored fonts of different shapes and sizes add more flavor and compliment the amusing tone of the stories. The quirky nature of the characters with their silly squabbles, fun banter, wacky puns and comical reactions leave children in a fit of endless giggles.

Some people have complained that the plot is weak and jumbled but we must keep in mind that the world of children is very simple and they just look forward to having fun in all their activities. The abundance of images coupled with the play-on-words engrosses readers to crave for more as reading becomes less and less daunting till it cultivates into a habit. As their interests remain alive, the young readers get used to sitting through an entire book and thereby growing into more independent readers.

The storyline is quick while the usage of many onomatopoeic words, similes, and other figurative language helps children to easily read through the chapters, giving them a sense of achievement. They gain more confidence in their reading abilities. Most words draw the attention of the readers as they are written in an eye-catching and fun way while at the same time helping them to expand their vocabularies. All in all, this series smoothen the transition of the young reluctant readers to more advanced chapter books.

Author’s Note: Originally published in Blasting News US

Here’s why you should read every day

Reading on a regular basis, even a few minutes, a day brings in many positive effects that can help reduce stress, enhance empathy and more.

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#Reading has become a neglected activity in today’s age of smartphones, social media, and video games. More than often when we are not occupied with our jobs or daily chores, we are distracted by online activities on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Skype.To get out of the mundanity of our lives, we seek out pleasurable activities like partying, clubbing or gossiping. Yet focusing on these external factors have largely led to less productivity and increased levels of stress in many of us.

Research has shown that even six minutes of reading every day can bring about innumerable #health benefits while at the same time transform us into happier and stronger individuals. This is because reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Reading is immensely healthy and a great workout for the mind

Just like our body, our brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly for better performance and productivity. A study conducted in the recent times shows that when it comes to reducing stress, reading beats out all the other stress releasing activities like listening to music, taking a walk or relishing a cup of coffee. It is a form of meditation that helps calm the restless mind and gives us tranquility, which in turn lowers our heartbeat and pulse.

Sometimes we are bogged down by everyday problems and feel frustrated trying to work things out. We over-think our problems which lead to increase in stress and depression. But we don’t need to travel to another part of the world to escape from our problems nor do we need to rely on our friends who may not be always available.

Then again, indulging in activities like clubbing and partying are not only expensive but leave us with an empty feeling when we are already disturbed.

To help us find respite, all we need to do is sit in a comfortable and cozy place at home with a good book in hand. Once we are immersed in the book we tend to forget our worries for the time being. We are immersed in the present moment and are free from any kind of stress. However, we must take care not to read anything heavy like the stock market news or scientific journals. We must read for pleasure or anything that piques our interest. Once we forget our problems and feel calmer we can go back to find a solution to our problems with a relaxed mind.

Reading helps to increase our focus and concentration

Before we are on our way to school or at work, reading a few minutes will help to increase our focus. It involves intellectual activity and concentration that leads to an increased neurological activity of the brain. This, in turn, enhances mental stimulation that keeps the brain active and sharpens its logical activity.

Research has shown that reading prohibits the brain from losing its power and helps prevent Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and general memory loss that comes with age.

Reading makes us smarter as it increases our knowledge and makes us better equipped in our personal and professional lives. Information and knowledge in various spheres coupled with a good vocabulary enhance our personality. It improves our soft skills and helps us in our interviews, promotions, social networking, public speaking and various other spheres of life. It gives us more confidence as we become better conversationalists and this helps us mingle easily as well as be comfortable in any social gathering.

Reading increases our emotional intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills

We become better individuals as we can learn from other people’s experiences. Many people have become wealthy and successful reading success stories of mentors like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet. Self-help books and memoirs can be inspirational as well as help solve our personal problems in life.

Our empathy increases as we delve into the emotions and feelings of a character which we would have never known otherwise. This helps in building better relationships since our understanding and perceptions of other people increase. This will, in turn, make us happier individuals, as we have stronger connections with our family, friends, and acquaintances.

Reading stimulates our creativity. This is because our imagination is fuelled when we mentally travel through the different places in the story, envision the characters and relate to their emotions. It triggers our curiosity and ushers in critical thinking as we analyze and make connections with the different characters, plots, subplots or try to solve the mystery.

Our brain is led to follow the sequence of the story as we explore the motivation behind the characters, the confrontation, and the resolution. This exposure to the logic and structure of fiction promotes quicker thinking while at the same time enhances our #problem-solving skills. As we assimilate more #information we create new brain pathways as well as strengthen the existing ones, thereby boosting our memory power.

We become better writers when we read more as we get to observe the style and techniques of other #writers. We also get ideas and inspiration for new stories or articles. Our #increased vocabulary from regular reading helps transition our writing into high quality and rich content.

Author’s Note: Originally published in Blasting News US

Why I support Kangana Ranaut

I haven’t seen many movies of Kangana and that’s because my time schedule makes me an infrequent viewer of movies in general, and so I see her case objectively. I am surprised that she is severely criticised by many empowered women on social media. One criticism by a prominent Indian singer has stated that she  has done disservice to feminism. Disservice? All I can see and as clear as crystal is that she has done a great service to both men and women by bringing out the vice called nepotism that affects not only the film industry but many other working sectors of our society. Today newcomers will have more opportunities open to them because someone of Kangana’s stature has brought this out in the open. This will nettle many a filmmaker’s conscience and say, ‘hey she is right I must be fair to the newbies too.’ Maybe unknowingly nepotism could also be an unconscious act. If for a change we give the benefit of doubt, and surmise that many genuine personalities of the film industry might have ‘unconsciously’ contributed to it, but now due to this awareness against it, many will think twice and be more conscious while scouting talent. The casting process will have the probability to be more authentic and fair towards one and all.

Another critical post I saw on facebook was from another empowered woman (this is author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s post on Kangana where I couldn’t comment due to the privacy settings there) which is that Kangana had sought out Zareena Wahab’s help. The author vociferously criticised her for having an affair with a married man in the first place, so why should she seek help, she questioned. But for a moment do look at it from her perspective. She is a young girl at a vulnerable age, alone in a big city like Mumbai, so whom can she turn to? They were the only people she knew then, so what is the harm in seeking a woman’s help. In the infamous Pooja Bedi-Aditya Pancholi case when Aditya Pancholi abused her 15 year old maid, Pooja Bedi valiantly took her maid’s side and didn’t cover up her ex-boyfriends misdeeds. That is what is called female empowerment. But here Kangana is being criticised for seeking help from Wahab because she is having an affair with a married man. Come on who are we to point fingers and that too only at a woman? Don’t we know better? It takes two hands to clap, so how can we single out only the womenfolk when it comes to an extra-marital affair. And who are we to judge other people’s feeling and emotions? Her having an affair is her ‘personal’ choice but to use one’s money and power to malign somebody’s career and image is morally so wrong and just not done. And Kangana has been bold to speak up and not take things lying down. She could have taken the coward’s way out as that’s how ninety five percent people operate in today’s world and take the recourse to keep quiet. That would have been a better option, a better PR, as then she could be in good terms with the whole film fraternity and landed with more movie deals. That is where her PR plan would have effectively worked out. But no, she opts to speak out here. So where is the PR that some seem to see here? And this also is a huge lesson for all of us. And that is we need to depend on our own positivity, confidence and willpower to make things happen. We have the power to create our own destiny and that too without the necessity of grovelling to other people’s misdeeds. She has shown women courage to be themselves. I truly applaud her as it takes guts to do this – to stand on our own and not needing a godfather or a famous family to make it in the film industry. 

Fighting her case with her own hard earned money and not having a wealthy legacy must have cost her the earth but she hasn’t backed out. Bringing out the woman commissioner’s stand on her case has brought out the true face of this office. She has rightly said that if she being an independent and successful woman faces this kind of unfairness from an office for woman’s empowerment then what will the common women do? But now because she spoke out, for a common woman who approaches this office, there will be hopefully transparency and accountability on each and every woman’s case handled. She has brought a great service to common women like us. These men have affairs and cover up by slapping false cases and ruining careers. If she brings it out till she finds closure then there is nothing wrong in it, whatever time it takes. And the pain she has faced by going through this can’t be measured even in years. So why are we women harping about being bored to death about hearing this. Till we haven’t gone through the pain, we haven’t faced the agony of it, and hence it is easy to point fingers isn’t it? It’s easy to demean a painful battle of a strong woman from the comfort of our living rooms saying that we are bored of hearing it over and over again.

We must take a leaf out of Pooja Bedi’s book here who so rightly said (regarding Aditya Pancholi’s maid abuse case), “I was happy to move on after I dumped Aditya when my maid had made similar allegations but there are some women who will accept it as a mistake, reconcile and forget about it.”

Book Trailer: Child of Paradise

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My new novel released – A Paranormal Crime Fiction::::

bestseller paranormal crime fiction thriller mystery child of paradise 2

Child of Paradise (Listen to your Dreams)
Genre: Paranormal crime

Released as Paperback and EBook in online stores of Amazon and Flipkart across US, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada and India (at Indian prices for the first time in India).

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The Haunting (5-sentence original mystery)

My head was aching and I reached out to my husband asking him for a glass of water. He looked surprised at being woken up and to my horror he tried to strangle me. I struggled to reach for the lamp at the bedside table and managed to hit him somehow. I could feel that horrible pain in my chest as I felt the same old sucked out sensations invading my body. “You will always be mine,” were the last words I heard as the bedroom door closed with a thud.

#mystery #thriller #mysteryweek #suspense #horror #goodreads

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude is an emotion we feel when we start appreciating all that we have in our lives and are thankful for them. It can be as big as getting a promotion or as small as enjoying a full moon night; maybe even simple as relishing a delicious pastry or an icecream. People often feel they are living very ordinary lives and there is nothing to be grateful for. Come to think of it, if we look at our daily routine lives and compare it with the highly valued materialistic things which we don’t have, then it does give us a feeling that there is nothing to be grateful for. But that’s where we are wrong and we need to change our perspective about life.

Ultimately all of us humans want to be happy. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. What matters in fact is our state of mind which should be in a state of emotional well-being and positivity always. But if we focus our attention on the materialistic side of things then we can’t live in this consistent state of emotional well-being. This is because the amount of materialistic things differ in everyone’s lives. Some have more wealth while others have less. Again that doesn’t mean that the wealthiest are the most happy and the poorest or less materialistically endowed are the saddest. The reason behind this can be unearthed from this meaningful quote which goes, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, rather it is gratitude that makes us happy.” This is a very important philosophy that we must take note because herein lies the secret of our happiness.

When we are grateful in whatever stage of life we are in, there is a great shift in our consciousness. We view things in a different light. Our mood changes for the better. The state of negativity and despondency changes to a more positive and optimistic outlook. Instead of thinking what a dull rainy day it is today, you change your perspective and stand near your window to see how fresh and clean the earth looks. Or simply enjoy the sound of the rain that can be relaxing and have a therapeutic effect on you. Maybe you can use that day to spend indoors to read a book or paint and sip some warm coffee. Maybe it feels more peaceful to do an assignment indoors with the soothing hum of the rain instead of facing the heavy rush of traffic or hurly burly of the outside world. You may tend to feel more inspired and creative on those rainy days and paint out that beautiful scenery, knit a muffler or maybe finish writing your article. Immediately your perspective changes. Another situation wherein you might have forgotten your door keys and have to wait for your spouse to return from his office. So instead of being frustrated waiting, you could go out for a walk and at the end of it you realise that the exercise helped  you feel more refreshed after a tiring day at the office. Or maybe you caught up with your neighbour and treated her to a cup of coffee, thereby connecting with her after ages. So either way you feel better about things.

Even on the days we are sick, maybe at that time we may have felt low or depressed. But it is during those times that we stop taking our health for granted. It makes us appreciate our health even more and we tend to take better care of it. I remember last month I was out of internet for almost a week. After a while as I gave up fuming about it and went on with my work, I realised it was a gift for me instead. Because that kept me out of social media like facebook or checking out entertaining videos on YouTube and I was busy learning my technical tutorials. The challenge I face with my technical tutorials is that as soon as they get tedious or a little hard to understand, I switch to facebook or YouTube for temporary relief. Thus lack of internet access helped me focus better and boosted my productivity. I finished my project earlier than the stipulated time. Of course I had scheduled the work which needed internet access for the evening hours when my husband returned and I could use his wi-fi hotspot. Recently my internet has been very fast and that too was provided with unlimited access due to a recent scheme by a telecom company. I have never been so appreciative!

Sometimes of course it is a real struggle to be grateful when you are having a difficult time in your life – maybe you are suffering from a serious illness or at other times you might be going through a destructive relationship. But a lot of real life stories have shown that it is actually the hard times that make people more grateful about their struggles, which has in turn bestowed them a hidden gift in some form or the other. More often people who have faced harder times are the ones more appreciative about life and have become more successful in their relationships or careers.

Gratitude is also believed to activate the law of attraction in our lives. People all over the world have reported that more they have been grateful, more has been the abundance in their lives. It is believed that when we are grateful we focus our energies on the positives in our lives, that in turn gives the universe the sign that that is what we want and helps making our desires manifest. On the other hand when we are negative and grumpy we are focused on the negative aspects in our lives and that is the message we send to the universe. Thus our life becomes a downward spiral from then on.

The universe understands your emotions, not your words or your wants. If you want something badly, but your emotion is that it is difficult to achieve, then that is what you will get – which is the lack of success and only the feeling of want. But if on the other hand you are confident that whatever you ask will come to you, the universe senses this feeling of confidence and abundance in you. And it is this abundance that will fill your life. Be grateful that the best has happened in your life and in turn the universe will sense this assurance you have about life and give you more.

‘Ask and you will receive,’ is a popular bible quote. It simply is nothing but the law of attraction. But then for this to work, you have to ask with a sense of gratitude that the universe will deliver it for you and it will definitely come to pass. Even if something bad happens, think of it as a temporary struggle and try to view it as a hidden gift because that is what it is. I have had my low phases in life but I feel it has been a hidden gift to me because it is what made me a better writer and I could touch on emotional aspects that afflicted many other people too. It made me feel and write better about the emotions of my characters in my stories. It made me research for resources and articles to make myself  happy and once I found it, I found ways to be at peace with myself as well as understand my relations with my closest ones better. It also gave me confidence to be my best friend the times when people were not around. In other words it made me less whiny and a more self-assured person instead.

Even during the times you are upset with your family  members or your friends, think of the times they have done something nice for you or have been there for you. It will remove that anger and release you from those pent up feelings. It will usher in emotional freedom by making you feel unchained and a lot lighter.

So what do we do to enforce this feeling of gratitude in our lives? Keep a journal and write three to five things you are grateful for. Gratitude journaling has been reported to bring down our stress levels and make us more calmer. See that whatever you write is not automated and repetitive. Don’t write for the sake of writing. Instead feel the emotion while writing it. Or if you feel pressured, just write one thing in detail and feel the appreciation while writing it. Write small things like your sister’s phone call which always gives that close chummy feeling and a feeling of security that you can reach for her at any time of your life. Otherwise you can mention about something that touched you like the new self-help book you are reading that gave you an insight into something that was bothering you. Or maybe simply relish the feeling of freedom that you have the money to buy a book of your choice whenever you want to. During your difficult days when you turn back the pages of your gratitude journal and re-read it, you will feel more appreciative in your period of reflection and realise there is so much to be thankful for.

It is said that writing makes us calmer and centred as we unclutter our thoughts on paper. It increases our sense of objectivity as we stop agonising over a problem and start seeing it from another’s point of view or a third person. It’s like your friend whom you can spill your thoughts to or talk your heart out. Hence there is a feeling of being released and understood. Since you are talking to yourself, you connect more with the inner you and it gives you more insight into your thoughts. Thus it helps to promote self-growth. It makes you more mindful and aware as you pour your thoughts on paper. Your mind stops to wander and makes you more ‘present’ in that moment. As the past frustrations and irritations peel off, you feel less loaded and it reduces the intensity of your anger, pain or sadness. It makes you more centred and calm. It helps to organise your thoughts better and gives you more clarity on your emotions. It makes you more intuitive and creative as it activates the right side of your brain.

When you write about the things you are grateful for it will fortify your sense of gratitude even more. It heals you emotionally and makes you feel relaxed. It gets you more creative as a downstream of positive thoughts engulf your mind and spirit. As you remove all obstacles, your connection with the universe gets more enhanced and unadulterated. The universe is talking to you even more through its unhindered channel and pouring out its abundance to you as you live everyday with a sense of wonder and gratitude.

Author:        Pratibha R DH