How Important Is Gratitude in Your Life?
Gratitude – Is It Powerful?
To be honest, when I first heard that the idea of appreciating and expressing Gratitude for all that we have, I give it a genuine go. But within a couple of days of expressing Gratitude in my mind, I felt that things hardly changed. I didn’t think there was going to be too much of a change and worse still I thought there was hardly anything to be feeling Gratitude for.
Now, the latter thought was disturbing. Those of you who understand the aspect of scarcity would quickly get that continued feeling of “not having enough for gratitude” thoughts would sink me into feeling miserable faster than I would expect. Maybe, that is why I stopped doing it within a couple of days. I was just feeling miserable and deeply engulfed in scarcity.
So, what then? Not to feel Gratitude?
Nah, We Just Need Some Course Correction!
See, the problem was not with the idea of Gratitude and how it can propel us towards abundance; it was instead with the way it was done. I was doing my gratitude exercise when I was driving to the office in heavy traffic. Do you get that? I was already a bit off with the traffic, and then I was trying Gratitude. Clearly, my mind was not in one place. The idea of looking for gratitude moments in that traffic didn’t even cross my mind back then. So, it was bound to fail. And it did.
When I introspected a lot later, this is what I found:
Did Not Give Enough Time
This point is not too difficult to comprehend. I gave up in just a couple of days, didn’t I? I may argue that I was feeling miserable doing the exercise in the first place. But then again, wasn’t I doing it in the wrong environment?
How could feeling angry in traffic be a good place to start with the gratitude exercise? Get this point in your head – it is different to start the gratitude exercise in the morning and feel Gratitude strong enough to do it in traffic vs starting it in the traffic. Why?
Because, the way you set the momentum of the day decides how you feel at different points in the day. If you were feeling bad in traffic then starting Gratitude at that moment will take you longer to feel good, and if you are like me, then you may even begin to feel miserable. So, the start point and the environment itself was not good. In other words, persisting was difficult.
But what did not cross my mind back then was starting it from a different place. That’s the persistence and change of pattern that we require to get going for long.
Did Not Do It At the Right Time
Part of this I explained in the previous point. Getting into gratitude mode in the middle of traffic was not going to help, unless, you want to feel Gratitude for the traffic. Hmm? How is that even possible?
How can we feel good about what we feel bad in the first place? Well, Gratitude helps you do it, but back then, I did not get that nuance. In the middle of traffic, I was trying to find what else went well in my life, and as you would have guessed, I hardly saw any. I was too occupied with traffic to take my mind off it, more so, the fact that the traffic enraged me back then. So, you know what would have happened, right? Correct, total chaos in my head. 😊
It was quite later in my Gratitude filled life that I realized that I could be grateful for things in the traffic itself. My focus on the traffic was already there, so all I had to do was look for good things in that traffic. It was as simple as that. When I finally started feeling Gratitude for the traffic, interestingly, I started encountering less of traffic. How did that even happen?
But that was the fact. I was sitting in traffic and thanking things like:
- Wow, that’s a beautiful car, thank you God for showing me that
- Thank you, God, for my car which I so wanted, and now I get to drive it
- Thank you for that beautiful hill on the right (Guess what, it was always there, and all I did was to be focused on the traffic lights. Now, you know the feeling of misery?)
These were just a few of the examples. As I started feeling Gratitude, I found more things to feel Gratitude for, and as I found more ideas to feel grateful for, the traffic got thinner than usual. I AM NOT KIDDING. This is what happened.
It was like, the more I felt good about something, all the bad things associated with it started to fizzle out. Remember this!!
Did Not See the Whole Picture
The other issue I had other than the two mentioned above was the lack of the whole picture. All that I wanted to figure out was what happened in my life the previous day that I could feel Gratitude for, and in doing so, I lost the whole picture. It was apparent that if I couldn’t find more reasons to be grateful for, I will give into the idea of scarcity, and therefore, feel miserable. Correct?
The problem was, I was time limiting myself when thinking of gratitude. What does that mean? It means that I did not have to just focus on the previous day, but everything about me, my family, my work, my tools and more to feel good that I did not do. But what are those things?
Here they are:
- Thank you for a new day which I could witness (your life isn’t guaranteed)
- Thank you for the fresh air I can breathe
- Thank you for the clean water I get to drink (not everyone on this planet can say so)
- Thank you for this vehicle in which I am travelling
And many more such things. Isn’t it so? That’s the whole picture. Your life is not bound by time; in fact, time is an illusion but more of that in another post. So, look at the complete picture, and you will feel grateful for things around you.
But How Did This Help Me?
Well, for one, things started working for me in more ways than I could explain. One of them I just mentioned in the previous section where the traffic started thinning out as I found more and more things to be grateful for and appreciate. Just imagine that something I seemingly didn’t have control over (traffic) started to work out in my favour. So, what could happen if we could find Gratitude for things in our control? Like our work, our office, our home and so many more areas of our life? I bet life would be super-duper-uber-fantabulous.
Well, at least, that’s what happened to me. So, how do we go about Gratitude?
Starting the Gratitude Exercise the Right Way
Understand this that the gratitude exercise will last only for a short time before Gratitude will become your way of life. So, don’t think that you are doing something more than you are supposed to do in life, and therefore, is homework for life.
Conversely, most of us started being ungrateful for things that we got until it became a way of life. Only back then, you didn’t know that this was the case. However, now that you know then commit to Gratitude for 21-days of your life, and it will become your way of life. What is this 21-day? Well, it is supposed to be the number of days required for a habit formation. 😊
Here are things that you need to keep in mind:
First Thing in the Morning and Last Thing in the Night
I mentioned in the previous sections that starting Gratitude in the traffic was a wrong way to start. The best way is to be grateful for the things you have is as soon as you wake up. You can still be lying down and start thanking stuff in every area of your life. What that does is sets the tone for your day.
You are likely to find more and more things to be grateful for, and now when you come to a traffic situation, you can still be thankful without feeling irritation over the traffic delay. Why? Because you already set the momentum of your mood from the morning. Everything else will likely follow that momentum.
Same thing at night. You must have had a lot of experiences through the day, so, keep the not-so-good ones away and thank God for the awesome ones just before you drift off to sleep. It is more than sure that you will wake up feeling happy.
Do you see what’s happening?
You Go to Sleep in Gratitude – Wake Up in Gratitude – Feel More Gratitude for things in the Morning – Experience grateful moments through the day – Go to Sleep in Gratitude.
It becomes a virtuous cycle where more and more Gratitude piles up to create such a momentum that your life takes a gigantic turn for the good. And Gratitude becomes your way of life!!!
That’s the Secret for a Grateful and Great Life!
So, now you know what to do. Just go ahead and do it. Practice gratitude, be grateful, appreciate the good that is happening to you, look at things with an appreciative eye and sooner than later, your life would be one of the most remarkable things around!! 😊
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