Years ago I read the scientific research studies by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough on the subject of gratitude. They found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional wellbeing and physical health than those who don’t. The findings opened my eyes and I began to dive in to this subject. I leant that gratitude is the cure to anger, fear and other negative emotions. We can’t be angry and grateful at the same time or be grateful and jealous at the same time. In other words, thinking grateful thought helps remove negative emotions inside us, and thereby assisting us in reaching the state of inner peace. The more grateful we become, the more likely we are able to connect with our higher self, and let our lives flow in harmony with the creative power of the universe.
Understanding that gratitude can help transform our lives, I started to train myself to be more intentional in showing my gratitude and appreciation in my everyday life. I will focus on seeing the good side on people and situations and stop dwelling on the negative things, be content with where I am and grateful for what I have. As I look round, I see people in my life who have gone out of their way to provide for me, guide me, care for me or to be a blessing to me. I would take a moment everyday to thank them in my heart. I find that I can be grateful for so many things such as my spouse, my children, my friends, my health, my businesses and my communities. The more grateful I am, the happier and blissful become, and this gives me the power of creativity, clarity and productivity that I haven’t experienced before. Some of you may not have what you have desired right now, but you should still be grateful for what you have right now. If you have health, you are already wealthy. If you can walk, you can talk, you can think, you can hear, you can see, you have something that millions of dollars couldn’t even buy. Don’t take it for granted that you can get up in the morning in your own bed or cook a simple meal at your kitchen when there are millions of people out there who don’t even have shelter to live, food to eat or water to drink. Some of you may be facing major set back in your life or going through tremendous pain right now, and you may ask yourself, “How can I be grateful right now?” I would still encourage you to keep things in perspective. There is always something to be grateful for in any moment. Any time when you feel discouraged or not happy with the people or things around you, instead of getting upset, frustrated or worried, the quickest way to get out of this negativity is to switch your negative thoughts to positive thoughts and gratitude. Instead on focusing on “what you don’t have”, shift the focus to “what you do have”. Instead of asking yourself,” Why do these bad things happen to me?”, ask yourself, “Everything happens for a good reason, how can I use this experience and turn it into a positive force in my life” When you change your perspective, you will start to see things differently. You will feel better and more peaceful inside.
Parents, if you get upset and worried too easily when your children’s grades are not high enough, when they don’t behave well enough, or when they are not as smart as their friend’s kids, you need to calm down. Your stress and anxiety is not going to bring out the best in your children and you. Having a healthy child without any sickness or disabilities is already a blessing, something to be very grateful for. Stop judging or demanding and start loving and forgiving. Spend time with them and have fun with them. Children need your presence more than your presents. Help them see the unique seed of greatness inside them and nurture them with love.
Over the years, I have developed a simple morning gratitude ritual that has served me immensely well. I’d like to share it with you. Every day when I wake up, I dedicate my first 15 minutes to my gratitude ritual when my mind is fresh and peaceful. The sequence of my ritual goes like this:
First, I thank God for my health and my immediate family.
Second, I recall my previous day and reflect on the things that I am grateful for.
Third, I extend my gratitude to my other family members, friends, associates, clients and the community as a whole.
Fourth, I will pray for people that need help.
Finally, I meditate on the assignments that I am called to do for the day.
This simple gratitude ritual has made a tremendous positive impact to me over the years and I hope that by sharing this with you, it will inspire you to develop your own way of expressing your gratitude every day.
May you live with gratitude everyday!