If there’s one thing I think I managed to achieve in 2014, it’s the habit to try to be more grateful.
I’ve always wanted to live a life full of gratitude and thankfulness. That’s all well and good when everything is going well in your life – wealth, health, love, fun and daily sunny doses of happiness.
But when things haven’t been going so well? When you and your other half haven’t been connecting, when your bank balance has too little zeros, when medically things are not going the way you want and when you’re miserable getting up to go to work every morning? Not so easy.
I think I got better at this in 2014. And here’s some tips which I found worked for me:
1. Write a gratitude journal
Oprah really was on to something. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for a while now as per her recommendation, but I think it was in 2014 that I really made sure to make it a habit. I would note the good things that happened to me during the day, make a mental note to record it later and write down 5 things I was grateful about a couple of days a week. With gadgets and apps such as Evernote, this journal is synced across all my devices so that I can note it whenever inspiration strikes.
At the end of the year, go back and reread everything you wrote. I promise it will make you more humbled and grateful.
2. Say a prayer throughout the day
Things happen to us throughout the day – little things like waking up just before you realise you’re due for a meeting (and your alarm had gone dead), narrowly missing a car crash when a car stumbled unto your path without signaling or a crucial meeting gets slotted at the perfect time for you. Whenever these things happen, SAY A PRAYER of gratitude instantly. Be aware that A Force Above is helping make these things happen, not due to anybody else.
3. Donate and help the needy
There is no quicker and simpler way to be grateful than to immerse yourself in the lives of others poorer off than you. During the recent floods in my home country, scores and scores of fellow citizens helped out. Even by donating online, purchasing relief items or making the trip there to volunteer, you will feel a sense of humbleness as you realise that what you have (rezeki) is meant to be shared and passed around, not sitting in your bank account. And realise that if this happens to you, people will also come round to your aid.
4. Pray and meditate daily
My religion preaches breaking away from the daily life and meditating through prayers 5 times a day. I never realised how healthy and useful this is in building my spirituality and humility until I got older. It just makes perfect sense – to detach from whatever you’re doing, sit still and talk to The One Above. Even if this is not your usual cup of tea, try and make prayers / meditation be a part of your life.
5. Be grateful even when bad stuff happens
I am highly aware of how easier this is said than done. As a mother of one who has been trying to conceive a second child for the last 5 years, it is certainly hard to feel grateful when things are not going the way you want or always dreamed it to be. What I’ve realised over the years is that God tests you not just through the bad stuff, but the good stuff too – they’re all tests. Hence whenever the bad stuff happens, don’t just sweat it, try to see the silver lining behind it – you never know if that something is actually better for you behind a dark cloud rather than through a colourful rainbow.