P.S. Apologies for such delay in writing my Mindful Monday post this week. It’s been socially hectic these past few days – celebrated a few birthdays in the family, fasted for a day, spent time with family. And I am thankful that I have such wonderful people in my life.
My Mindful Monday resolution for the past week was to “Be Thankful for Everything” and living in gratitude.
As toddlers, one of the first few lessons we were taught when we first learned to speak was to say the two words “Please” and “Thank you”. And sure, we grew up to be well-mannered adults saying those two words every time we requested for something. Even though we might have a sense of entitlement that we should receive what we ask for and when we ask for it (so why bother with those two words, really?) we say those two words almost out of habit. But are we really thankful from our hearts? Do we actually recognize the effort that has gone into meeting our request? And finally the most important questions, do we actually stop and be grateful for the things we have or receive without evening requesting for it?
I won’t be completely out of line if I say that we take many a things for granted – the life we have, the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, the people that have touched our lives, and all the beautiful things that the world has to offer. And we certainly don’t think too much of the negative experiences we have had. After living in gratitude this past week, I have realized how much time I’ve wasted fretting over things that I don’t have instead of being thankful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had.
We spend too much time regretting what we could have done with our lives. But how about being thankful for not getting everything that we desired so we have something to look forward to? We feel inferior if we don’t know something. How about being thankful for the opportunity to learn? Shouldn’t we be thankful for the challenging times? They help us grow and make us resilient for the challenging times up ahead (and on a lighter note, challenges keep life interesting). If anything, we should be thankful for each new challenge in our lives as they are character-building experiences.
People near and dear to me will attest that my troubled previous marriage, while challenging and a living hell, has made me a much stronger person. And if I were to spend precious moments of my life regretting that wrong decision, I would be such a negative energy to be around with. Instead, I’m thankful that my previous marriage taught me important lessons that I couldn’t otherwise learn. It made me realize what’s important.
Finally the uber-important point: research has shown that gratitude and thankfulness heightens quality of life. Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude – is author of the book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”. Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. You can read a synopsis in of his research by Marelisa Fabrega’s blog post on How Gratitude Can Change Your Life.
So thank someone today and be grateful for what you have and don’t have! Afterall, it’s the small steps that make a big difference!