With the Mental Health Day (10th of October) approaching, here is a beautiful revelation from one of our writers about Gratitude. Many of us would have gone through this, and many might, eventually.
Taking care of yourself does not mean physical wellbeing alone; mental wellness is essential too. We are happy that unlike decades earlier, people now are more open to becoming aware of mental health.
The first step towards achieving mental health is to Be Happy. Living with Gratitude is a sure path that leads to happiness.
Growing up, in my 20s, I lived with the conviction of a ‘Miss Know it all’; with the impression that my perfection cannot be improved. An avid reader all my life I stayed away from the Self-help section and hated the idea of having to take inputs from ‘experts’ on how to live my life/how to make myself a better person.
Then, as they say, ‘Life happens!’. With various turns of events came the humble realization that one can be better prepared for what life throws at us. With that change of perception, I welcomed the idea of self-empowerment (for people who like to consider themselves to be capable and strong and seeking help is a sign of weakness aka the younger me).
In recent years I have taken up or tried to adopt various practices in terms of self-care and self-love. And, the single most non-negotiable practice I follow regularly (sometimes multiple times a day) is being Grateful.
So, what’s new with that? As kids, we are taught the basic courtesies of saying Please and Thank you. However, over the years it becomes a motion, a societal norm, and gets associated with being thankful only when we receive something (matter or kind). But living with Gratitude goes beyond the obvious.
So, what is living with Gratitude?
It is mind over matter. A way of opening our hearts to compassion and love, it is appreciating the pleasantness in our life and inculcating feelings of optimism, positive outlook, contentment, and happiness.
A quick search of Gratitude will yield thousands of prompts and ways. Numerous studies have been conducted, and the results are as magical as they seem to be.
The most common recommendation would be to list down 3/5/10 things you are grateful for at the end of the day. It instantly calms us down, helps us sleep better, and wake up refreshed and hopeful. It also works in a quick-fix way to make us feel better about the day gone by.
Simple ways to practise Gratitude
However, for some people, committing to a daily habit can easily become a task/ to-do point to check before sleeping, and the practice may lose its charm. Does this not appeal to you? Then, here are some ways to vary the idea to your advantage and schedule.
- Not able to think of three things to be grateful for? Just think of 1 but feel it deeply and say/write it in detail.
- Not keen to commit to it daily? Do it 2/3/4 times in a week. Remember, when it comes to thoughts, quality matters over quantity. Feel the pleasantness from within and appreciate it wholeheartedly.
- Call up a friend/family and thank them for something you usually take for granted and appreciate them doing it for you.
- Write a thank-you note to a colleague/neighbour and let them know you value their presence in your life.
- Write a detailed letter to a loved one, letting them know how you savour your relationship. We are often quick to air our grievances but hold back when it comes to showing love and gratitude to our loved ones. Please go on, do it now.
- Since it’s all about energy, when we are genuinely thankful, the vibrations travel to our source but the effect is multiplied when it is conveyed over a call/note/letter/in person. It brings about a cycle of positivity and improves our well-being.
- Volunteer – Over the last year, I volunteered my time to support a cause close to me and feel it’s a great way to inculcate Gratitude. It made me grateful for the things we may take for granted and to be able to be in a place where I can make a difference.
Will being grateful make you happy always?
I have been practising Gratitude for a while now. Does it mean my life is all sorted just because I do it diligently? Far from it and this is where self-empowerment comes in. I still have days ruined by harsh words, hectic, chaotic lifestyle, and plans went awry, but the practice gives me a glimmer of hope, my silver lining in the dark cloud, my way to draw out the best and save the day.
It helps us form a habit to develop an appreciation and enjoy happier days. So, does our day magically become happier?
Think of it more like the illusion art, where you see a hare one way and a bird in the negative space, or an old lady and a young dame. It takes a while for the eyes to train, but once you have seen it, you cannot unsee it. Similarly, once the mind is tuned to seeing and acknowledging ways to be grateful, it becomes the norm, and we feel happier.
This is how it helped during this Pandemic
In the current times of uncertainty and fear, this has been a saviour, to say the least. We are all struggling with the restrictions, the scarcity of essentials, unavailability of various services, inability to meet family/friends, job losses, pay cuts, businesses closing down, financial worries and concern for loved ones.
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As we are forced to adapt to this reality, it’s easy to feel negative, anxious, fearful, and lost. So how do I continue my practice in such bleak times? Is there a way to feel an appreciation in these times of turmoil? Definitely!
- Locked up at home? Let’s be grateful that we have a home/roof over your head.
- Unable to spend time with friends? We must be grateful for getting the time to take up a hobby/ read that book/ develop that skill.
- Tired of having to do chores at home? Let’s be grateful for having loved ones to care for.
- Missing family/friends? Let’s be grateful for technology which is continually bridging the gap.
Get the idea? You are welcome ☺
Being grateful – a win-win always
In the yoga sutras of Patanjali, there are eight limbs of yoga, and Santosha (the practice of cultivating contentment) is one of the niyamas. It guides us to accept the joys in front of us and stop yearning for what is missing.
So, being thankful for the pleasantness in life is the key to attracting more pleasantness and bountifulness.
For people interested in having a sneak-peak into my gratitude journal, here are a few.– I went to the supermarket, grateful to the veggie stocker who pointed out the basket of fresher broccoli and even picked out a bigger one indicating it was all flat rate. This person went out of her way to ensure I get my value for money.
– Grateful to my friend who recommended online yoga sessions so that I get some restorative yoga benefits.
– Grateful to the library board for making more copies of ebooks and audiobooks available, which enables me to get my regular quota of book love.
– Grateful to my daughter for letting me know time and again that I am a decently good cook.
– Played an online game with my cousins. Grateful for having them, and the technology to be able to indulge in some fun time even across the oceans.
– Grateful for Mangoes! (Mundane is magical too)
We hope this might have given you an idea of the magic of living with Gratitude. We also hope you get inspired to be grateful for the mundane, the routine, the ordinary, and the extraordinary joys in your life. Have a wonderful day 🙂
Edited by love4wellness | Images from canva.com