Omg. My first ever post after 5 years. Wow.
Anyway, I am going to dive right in! For my post, I want to give you something tangible you can start doing right now in your lives!
This blog is not going to be about words that will forever end up on the internet – no!
I want to share practices that we can actually apply in our lives right here, right now and see the difference it is making, while we journey together.
So here’s starting with something I strongly believe in, that has helped me in gazillion ways. I swear. This is such a powerful life tool that I wish I can shout on an earth loudspeaker so it reaches every living soul.
So….what exactly is this powerful magic?
No lah, no magic. It’s super halal.
Give thanks! It is as simple as that.
Before we go any further and you think I just watched ‘The Secret’ so I am all fired up – let’s bring in the science and data on gratitude.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive, remember good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California & Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, have done plenty of research in this.
In one study, they asked participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative).
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than the latter two groups.
Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But the fact is – most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.
The act of giving thanks is immensely powerful. I simply cannot emphasise this enough. It puts you in a place where there is zero negativity. Because you are being 100% positive. You are saying thank you. You are counting your blessings. You are grateful. You are appreciating the goodness is your life. It does not mean there is nothing bad in your life or you don’t have problems you are currently dealing with- but, at this particular moment of giving thanks, you are choosing to acknowledge the good stuff.
Most of you know my story by now. Through this blog, I am definitely going to share a lot more. But I’ve been through my share of darkness and pain. From being sexually abused at a tender age of 4, to experiencing bullying, to watching my family fall apart to not having a place to call home to being so broke that I couldn’t even afford to eat.
But the day I started practicing gratitude – like real gratitude. Truly and deeply thanking God for the little and big things that lit up my day – things actually changed. And I can’t explain how or what or the way this works to you. Because, truth be told. It is beyond me. All I know is that it works. My life isn’t perfect now either but I’ll tell you something – when you get into the habit of practising gratitude – you have more perfect moments than you can count.
So ladies, how exactly do you begin to practice this?
- Write it down. On a piece of paper. On your notes in your phone. Whatsapp yourself. You can do this anytime, anywhere.
- Meditate. So this is more of a mental note taking. Find a quiet space and time. Close your eyes. And literally visualise what you are giving thanks for.
- Pray. I personally do a mix of 3 and 1. Also, because my prayers are timed, I pick one of the prayers and take a moment to give thanks.
When is the best time?
The more you give thanks, the more powerful this becomes. So what you really need to do is to make this a habit. You can do it on the train or bus on your way to work. First thing you do when you wake up or last thing before going to bed. Even if it is just one thing you are going to acknowledge.
Who do you give thanks to?
By default, gratitude connects you to something larger than yourself— whether to the universe, other people, nature, or a higher power.
You are recognising that the source of that goodness lies at outside of you.
Pick your source and direct it there.
What do I give thanks for?
Anything. Everything. It can be as abstract as the earth we live in and the clean air we breathe or as specific as finally getting the right foundation shade. And if ever you think you have nothing else to give thanks for, my uncle taught me something I would never forget. He said, don’t just thank God for what He gave you. Thank Him for what He did not give you as well. Boom.
Trust your girl and just try this. Grab a friend ie gratitude buddy, to remind each other. And if you start practicing this, I honestly want to know how you feel in a week!
Source: Harvard Health Publishing