There are so many things happening in our lives some make us happy, and others unhappy. We teach children to say ‘thank you’ to anyone who helps them, gives them something or does them a favor. But these good manners are soon forgotten. As we grow up we take most of the things for granted and life becomes stressful as relationships turn sour. What to talk of human beings we even don’t feel thankful to God for all His blessings. In this materialistic world of today, people are running a race, which they want to win at any cost. The cost could be in terms of stress, aches, and pains, lack of sleep or low self-esteem.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word ‘gratia’ which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.
Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that: “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”
I am reminded of a fable in which heaven was visualized. There was an enclosure where lots of applications were kept. These were requests from people asking for one thing or another, which were being processed here. There was another enclosure where lots of gifts were kept neatly packed. These gifts were being sent to the people who had prayed for them. Then there was a very small enclosure ‘acknowledgements’. It was the enclosure for keeping the messages of thanks sent by the people after receiving their desired gifts. This enclosure was the smallest because very few people remember to thank God.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.” -Cicero
A person who was in depression and had attempted suicide was taken to a doctor. When asked the reason for his depression, he said “I have lost my capital in the business, my friends have betrayed me as a result of which I am under great stress. As I have nothing more to lose, I want to end my life” The doctor told him that he still was a ‘crorepati’.The man was amazed. The doctor explained “you have a loving and caring family. You also have healthy eyes, kidneys, liver, knees, and heart. The cost of transplanting these would run in crores. If only you would express gratitude to God daily for all the parts of your body, and loving family, you will come out of depression.”
Benefits of gratitude
- Gratitude brings with it optimism which in turn makes us happier, improves our health, and has been shown to increase lifespan.
- Gratitude and positive emotion, in general, are among the strongest relaxants known to man.
- Expressing gratitude to family members enhances cordial relations and bonds the family.
- Expressing gratitude to friends deepens friendships.
- Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.
- Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before going to bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
As we express gratitude more and more, the law of attraction works to create more situations in our life for which we need to express gratitude.
Ways to cultivate gratitude
- Close your eyes and picture three people who made a difference in your life. Whether they are alive or not, think about them and how grateful you are that these people made an impact on you.
- Send a positive, encouraging text to someone right now, thanking that person for something he or she has done for you.
- Whether in response to a gift or kind act or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude in addition to simply feeling it inside.
- One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day.
- Once a week, reflect on events for which you are grateful and write them down. As you do, feel the sensations of happiness and thankfulness you felt at the time it happened, going over it again in your mind.
- Expressing thanks during your prayers is another way to cultivate gratitude.
- Be thankful for what you have. When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, remember the 1,000 reasons you have to smile.
- Give at least one compliment daily, whether directly to a person or by sharing your appreciation of something.
My experiments with gratitude
In have experienced the magical results of gratitude in my life by
- Thanking God every morning for giving me the gift of a new day,
- Keeping all the parts of my body and mind in a good state of health.
- Protecting me from accidents, misfortunes, diseases, calamities etc.
- Guiding me through all the situations of life.
- Keeping my near and dear ones safe and protected.
- Forgiving all my mistakes and accepting me with all my shortcomings.
- Thanking God every night for keeping me in HIS care the whole day.
By God’s grace, I have never been hospitalized. I am in a healthy state without any problems of BP or diabetes etc. I have served in the Army for two decades and come out without a scratch on my body.
It’s wonderful to see a person smile, and even more wonderful knowing that you are the reason behind it! The law of gratitude is one of the easiest ways of manifesting your true desires. The Greek philosopher said it best, A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”