“Inhale Blessings, Exhale Gratitude!” This quote resonated with me ever since I stumbled upon it. The quote has essentially ended up being one of my favorite mantras for elevating my thought process!
The significance of practicing gratitude has been emphasized time and again by various Spiritual/Personal Development Gurus and Coaches. In today’s dynamic era where we are constantly running after our goals, our lives are ruled by social media and where we are hard pressed for time, incorporating the practice of gratitude can be invigorating! How often do we set aside time to reflect from our bustling calendar, to thank the Almighty for what we are blessed with?
Several studies today have reinforced the advantages of practicing gratitude. According to the remarkable researches conducted by Robert Emmons, PhD there is a strong link between gratitude, overall happiness and well being. The study also showed that people who regularly practice gratitude depict multitude of positive traits. They were “more empathetic, forgiving, helpful, and supportive” than those who didn’t engage in gratitude, and also “tend to experience positive emotions more often.”
Another study conducted by UC Riverside’s Sonja Lyubomirsky asked people to journal five things they were grateful for weekly or three times a week for duration of six weeks – and of the samples the ones who did maintain a journal were more grateful.
Inspired by the researches and benefits of practicing gratitude, I was looking for ways to incorporate gratitude in my life. I experimented with a couple of things like practicing gratitude meditation, designing gratitude quotes, but consistency was a challenge. I did try my hand at maintaining a gratitude journal, however my endeavor was short lived. (Courtesy my laziness)
A couple of days later I discovered this wonderful idea of creating a Gratitude Jar through pinterest. I found the activity creative, engaging and hassle free and decided to commence it from the month of June. The task was that I had to list one thing that I was grateful for and deposit it in my gratitude jar for a period of 30 days!
Here are some of the ways the gratitude process transformed me:
Generated a powerful mental shift
This was the first time that I formally sat down to make a list of things that I was grateful for. The complete process of designing the gratitude jar in itself was reviving, as I slipped into the habit of acknowledging and making a quick mental note every morning. It was a great kick-start to begin my day with an abundant heart and a positive attitude! The activity helped me to become conscious of the vast arenas of things that I am blessed with. Today, when I view my marvelous gratitude jar, it makes me feel contented! Whenever I feel dispirited, reviewing my gratitude notes serve as a wonderful booster and a catalyst to enliven my spirits!
Significance of the words – Practice/Cultivate
The process of developing a gratitude jar was instrumental in helping me realize the power of the expressions “Practice” and “Cultivate”. I have listened to inspirational podcasts, attended several in person workshops or watched motivational videos wherein the speakers have dedicated huge segments of their talks on developing and cultivating a habit. I have always heard them stress on the following-“We can choose to be grateful” or “We can practice/cultivate gratitude”. However I must confess, I never really paid heed to these two amazing words earlier. Through this activity, I learnt that we have some habits or behaviors that come organically to us, while we can choose to cultivate certain habits for a holistic progress. Integrating and developing a new habit requires vast amount of willingness, determination, patience and consistency to make it a part of our daily routine.
A Month of being Mindfully Grateful
I am a person who usually works well with targets in place. The 30 day time span was the perfect way for me to work in small chunks and train my mind on being grateful. Since I signed up for this venture with a strong sense of commitment, my motivation levels were in sync.
I could very well sense the vibrations of gratefulness translating in all aspects of my life and interactions. I was at a daylong mindfulness workshop recently where we were assigned an activity. My gratitude list was on the tip of my tongue, and I felt happy to share it with my fellow classmates. This was the first time that I had shared my gratitude list with the people that I had known hardly for a couple of hours and I was elated to know that they felt inspired and uplifted after hearing it.
June for me was the month of “Mission Gratitude”. The benefits of this activity that I experienced were both tangible and intangible. It helped me reengineer and revitalize my mindset and perspective. Though I performed this activity for a span of 30 days, the beam of gratefulness has unquestionably transformed my life!
About the Author:
|Deepti Mardikar-Fadnavis is a perpetual learner, self confessed quoteholic and a work in progress mindfulness practitioner. Deepti holds dual masters in Counseling Psychology and Human Resource Management, is an enthusiastic HR professional and a certified Career Coach. She is an amateur writer, trained singer and a creative person always in pursuit of new ventures.|