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How about a 250 odd page book that’s solely dedicated to one quality – gratitude? Rhonda Byrne exclusively talks about being thankful and the magic it brings. Almost every other sentence has the words “gratitude” or “grateful” inscribed.
But, what made me pick this book? I’ve read 17 self-help/productivity books in the 12 months, and some traits and habits keep repeating – decluttering, prioritizing, avoiding distractions, the flow state, meditation, and gratitude. Why would all the uber-successful people mention these qualities; and what is so special about gratitude that it gets repeated so often?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. In psychology research, it is consistently associated with happiness. Gratitude helps us feel positive emotions, relish good experiences, and build stronger relationships. This book is a 28-day gratitude practice guide. Here are my top 5 picks; They worked for me and I hope they work for you too:
1. Count your blessings – Everything starts with realization. So, start by listing 10 things you are grateful for and mention why you feel the gratitude. It’s easier said than done. When I tried, I could not write more than five points. It required a lot of retrospection but it was worth the effort; I found a lot of surprising answers.
- I am grateful for what? because why?
- I am blessed to have what? because why?
- Thank you for what? because why?
If you are stuck, pick one from each category: health, work & success, money, relationships, passion, happiness, love, life, nature, and material goods.
2. Don’t complain – Do we appreciate our good health when we feel good, or we think about it only when we fall sick? When we are not grateful, we take things for granted; and with time, we start building negativity. Eventually, we get stuck in a loop and find more things to complain about.
For one day, don’t complain or say anything negative. Even if you say something negative by habit, add this immediately: But I am also grateful for ___.
We tried this social experiment a few years ago among our friends and astonishingly, we complain more often than we think we do. Try it one day and let me know how many times you caught yourself complaining.
3. Thank the right way – Every day, there are people from all walks of life whose service we benefit from. Some would have given us encouragement, motivation, or have just been there for us at the right time. It could be our family, friends, the mailman, the security guard, or store assistants.
Thank these generous souls and more importantly, tell them what you are thankful for. The reason is very important. Always include a little detail of what makes you thankful. Was it the surprise, the thoughtfulness, or how helpful the favor or gift was? Be specific. I have already written about it in my article on persuasion.
4. Be grateful towards a broken relationship – When we are unhappy with someone, we start blaming the other person for the issues we have with them. All this hatred and resentment can be overcome with gratitude.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Gautama Buddha
For this practice, choose one difficult relationship to improve. List down all the good things about it, try hard if you can’t think of any. Let go of the right/wrong, that’s not the point when we are trying to heal.
I have found success with this. I had a fallout with my friend, and it was initially difficult to accept him for what he was; we had different opinions. To resolve this, I first stopped talking to him regularly. It was easy to distance myself.
In a few days, my anger dissipated. After a few weeks, I occasionally started thinking of him – ‘what would he be doing now? Is he fine? He was a humorous person alright’ and right in front of my eyes, my resentment vanished. It was a blissful feeling.
5. Be grateful to yourself – I saved the best for the last. Being grateful for what you are is the first step towards improving your life and of the people around you. If you can’t love yourself, how can you love others?
Go to the mirror, look directly at you and say thank-you for everything that you are. Say three things about yourself that you are proud of. When we are grateful, we stop blaming ourselves or others for the mistakes we make.
You are the builder of your life and gratitude is a magic tool to strengthen your foundation. People who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. After all, life’s about harmony. Why not be grateful for what we have?
We hope you liked this post. What is your ONE takeaway?
– Kavi & Ninja
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