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.