“Waking up early to watch sunrise. Birds chirping. Believing there’s someone listening to my prayer. That I’m not alone. Being able to see things for what they are and being able to cry whenever I can’t take it. Surviving so many things I thought they’d never happen to me yet they happened and only with Allah’s care and guidance they weren’t as hard as I imagined they’d be. Having many interests I happiness. Eating food whenever I want is happiness. Having people who see me as a good person, even better than I see myself is happiness. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I want to happen or what didn’t go as I planned that I forget all the little happiness that I could’ve missed.”~ learnnada (on instagram)
Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness” (Oxford Dictionary)
Around December last year, I found about ‘practicing gratitude’ through various youtube videos. And it was later through a few websites that I learnt more thoroughly about ‘the gratitude experiment’. Below I provide you with a brief summary of the benefits of the experiment (from the websites I referred) –
- Increased happiness and joy
- Fewer illness and more exercising
- More optimistic outlook on life
- More likely to offer emotional support to others
- Increased sense of connection with others
- Better quality of sleep
- Decreased amount of negativity and depression
- Structurally alters the brain (if done consistently) to be more positive
- Starts a cycle of gratitude – when you are grateful, you encourage someone else to do the same.
After reading these, I remember thinking – ‘ooh, I gotta get me some of that.’
And so it has been around six months since I started practicing gratitude in the morning. It is very easy and all it takes is a few seconds of your time (if you do it mentally like me) and a minute (if you are starting out and writing it down, which I recommend in the initial stages of the practice). Keep in mind this is not the only way to start the experiment – you can also draw or click pictures of things that make you happier (and share them on public platforms if you like. One such platform is Capturing gratitude or you can also tag their instagram handle)
Here’s what I do every single morning when I sit down to plan my day – I would look around and find 5 things to be grateful for. It can be as simple as being grateful for the water you are drinking, the air from a fan keeping you cool, the sunlight that enable you to see the world, or simply the sleep that rejuvenates you. I will admit that on some days you will find it harder to be grateful but it is specifically on these days that must be extra grateful.
Since I started this practice, I have found the following benefits –
- I feel very productive, positive and determined to get things done.
- Earlier when I was tired I would keep telling myself “stop, don’t work, your body is too weak” and things in the same vein but now I priortise my health and get more work done!
- I am calmer and more energized strangely. This particularly helps me with my exam anxiety. My habit of over-thinking things has definitely decreased.
- Bad news and criticism does not make me as anxious as it did. And believe me I was terrible at handling criticism, one sour look of disappointment towards me and I would burst into tears. I am not as thick skinned as I would like but I am trying.
- I am not as harsh on myself as I used to be, which was (now I realise) such a huge obstacle to both my productivity and self-confidence as well. Constant criticism is your worst foe.
- And from the above points it naturally follows that I don’t get as easily annoyed or frustrated as I used to, though I must confess it still requires a lot of work.
So, these are some benefits I have personally experienced. And if you want to include this life-changing habit, do it! My only tip in this regard would be to hook it in an existing habit, for example, you can say that you will practice gratitude when you are planning or brushing your teeth or basically any mundane task that you are already doing on a daily basis as it acts as a trigger to remind you about the habit that you want to imbibe in your daily routine
If you do try this, let me know. Till next post, HAPPY HUSTLIN’ HON