Cicero said gratitude “is not only the greatest one but also the mother of all the other remaining virtues”
It is so very true. Gratitude is magical. It teaches you the essence of life, joy of small things and increases the effectiveness of life. Often in our daily life, all we do is complaining about all we don’t have, but take for granted all we have. Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Gratitude teaches to be appreciative in our life and to realise nothing is ‘ too small’ to overlook. It is however much more than a mere thank you feeling, it is a deeper sense of appreciation, with humility, for everything you have and enjoy in your daily life, right from the food you eat, clothes you wear, the shelter, and the close ones you rely upon.
Last one and half year were challenging for me. The pages of my life were not turning out the way it should be. Every day was tough. But I lead me to float throughout the bad times, is my sense of gratitude which I took as an anchor to sail through. I would have been broken badly until I realised that small things matters in life, nothing is for granted. I choose to look for happiness in every day’s activities for e.g., safe return of my family at the end of the day, the healthy smile of my child, the protective love of my parents around me and so on. And believe me, my list is unending,( n surely will be yours), then why cry for something which is beyond our control.
Psychologists further categorize three types of gratitude: gratitude as an “affective trait” (one’s overall tendency to have a grateful disposition), a mood (daily fluctuations in overall gratitude), and an emotion (a more temporary feeling of gratitude that one may feel after receiving a gift or a favour from someone). Most of the studies in this paper focus on a trait (or “dispositional” gratitude) and/or gratitude as an emotion. ( Allen, 2018)
Practicing gratitude does not imply the absence of problems in life, but it helps you to change your focus to existing good things in your life. By being gratitude you become more optimistic and happier. It not only develops your inner strength to overcome challenges but also grooms your personality.
A growing number of research studies suggest that gratitude make people physically healthier and adopt healthier lifestyles. A study of people with heart failure found that people with higher dispositional gratitude reported better sleep, less fatigue, and lower levels of cellular inflammation (Mills et al., 2015) and a study of patients who had had a heart attack or chest pain found that patients who had higher levels of optimism and gratitude two weeks after their cardiac event also reported greater improvements in emotional well-being six months later (Millstein et al., 2016) .
How to practice gratitude in daily life:
Say small prayers
Prayers are a powerful way of expressing gratitude. First of all, be grateful for your life. Begin and end your day with small prayers. Take the habit of saying silent prayers to God for everything in your life, no matter big or small. Acknowledge all things you feel blessed to have it in your life.
Keep a gratitude journal
Always make a habit of noting down things you feel good about in the whole day. Take your time to realise the importance of pleasant happenings that added charm to your life. Even if the day didn’t turn out as per your expectation, try to pick up the hidden aspects, to make yourself grateful for a safe day in the end.
Count your blessings
Yes, count your daily blessings. The safe home, your favourite meal, a cosy bed are all part of blessings. The capacity and power within you to do what you want is also a blessing. Make a list of them in your journal. It will make you realise how beautiful your life is. Compare your life with those who are needy, and feel deeply how blessed you are.
Express your love and affection to your family. Value your relationships. Be thankful to be surrounded by protective and loving people, who love and care for you. Be grateful to realise that there are people for you to look behind and rely on, and who love you unconditionally.
And, remember ‘It is not the happy people who are grateful, it is the grateful people who are happy’.
This is my 7th post for the alphabet ‘ G’, for the ongoing #blogchatterA2Z, Challenge, 2019.
Allen S. ( 2018), The Science of Gratitude, A white paper prepared for the John Templeton Foundation by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
Mills, P. J., Redwine, L. S., Wilson, K., Pung, M. A., Chinh, K., Greenberg, B. H., … Chopra, D. (2015). The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 2(1), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.1037/scp0000050
Millstein, R. A., Celano, C. M., Beale, E. E., Beach, S. R., Suarez, L., Belcher, A. M., … Huffman, J. C. (2016). The effects of optimism and gratitude on adherence, functioning and mental health following an acute coronary syndrome. General Hospital Psychiatry, 43, 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.