Magic of gratitude

Okay so now I’m going to brainwash you into practicing gratitude.

Don’t worry it’s going to benefit you in manyyyyy ways.

So what is gratitude?

Must have heard “attitude of gratitude” saying.. but let’s not get into such meme related stuff here. Let’s get real for a while

Gratitude is a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life

– Robert Emmons

Aha! This quote really touched my heart

So it’s a feeling of thankfulness about – the ice cream you ate today.. the treat your friend gave you last week… Well yeah.. something like that.

So now… You must be thinking hell yeah! I know that but I ain’t gonna say thank you for everything.

Seriously?

Lemme tell you the benefits –

Research has found that grateful people are more happier 😊 and energetic 😍 and hopeful πŸ˜€ than those who aren’t so grateful.

Plus…

They are more helpful and empathic

More forgiving

Anddd

Less materialistic!

Sounds great?

And also for all the fitness freaks out there –

Practicing gratitude is also linked to physical health.

Well… That doesn’t mean you’re going to get six packs in six weeks of practicing gratitude. πŸ™„

It just means your immunity will improve. You’ll think good thoughts and maybe feel more energetic in gym.

In her book ‘How of happiness’ Sonja Lyubomirsky explains 8 ways in which gratitude helps you.

8 super awesome ways gratitude helps you!

1. Grateful thinking promotes the savouring of positive life experiences

Here’s how I remember it –

Eat your icecream before it melts..

Enjoy the moment before it’s over. Be grateful and enjoy the present time before it’s gone.

Enjoy your college years before going for a job and reflecting back on college days and thinking “those were the days…..”

2. Expressing gratitude bolsters self worth and self esteem

Now imagine a very common situation –

You are late for a party.

You’ll probably say – “Sorry for being late guys… There was traffic” (or whatever lame excuse you come up with)

And they’ll probably ignore you… And you might end up feeling bad about yourself

Now what if you say –

“Thank you so much guys for waiting for me! I am so glad that you all are my friends”

Guess what would happen?

They won’t feel that bad about it… Anddd… Even you’ll feel better… Soooo much better! (I am so glad you are my friends…..πŸ€—)

Boom! Shift in focus..

You feel better about yourself and others after expressing gratitude

3. Gratitude helps people cope with stress and trauma

Yeah… It does!

It’s challenging to express gratitude when you’re stressed or depressed. But like every other medicine you have to take this sour medicine to get better (I mean feel better)

In this period.. you may not have big things to be grateful for.. but it’s the little things that count. You could be grateful you had healthy food today or your friend came to talk to you or something like that.

But feel the gratitude. Say it out loud.

4. Expression of gratitude encourages moral behaviour.

You’re more likely to help others when you feel grateful.

Here’s the thing – when you are aware about your own blessings you want to be that blessing for someone else.

When everything is going good in your life, you are more likely to help others. It’s like when your cup is full, it overflows.

So if you want to help others, start by feeling more grateful about your own situation. It helps, trust me!

And when you help others it gives a more positive boost about yourself.

5. Gratitude can help build social bonds, strengthening existing relationships and nourishing new ones.

When you constantly realise how blessed you are to have this person in your life…

You treat them better! Even they treat you better!

Oh I’m so blessed to have you in my life honey… I really appreciate you doing the dishes yesterday and even though you were tired… You talked with me for a while and asked me about my day before going to bed… It’s these little things that make me so happy!

I feel the same darling. I remember the time when my mom was in hospital and you spent a week there taking care of her. She was so happy to have you there.. I will always remember the good things you’ve done for me and my family, this is nothing compared to that..

After reading this how many of you went “awwww”

Yeah! That’s how it gets.

Genuine appreciation has a wonderful impact. It kinda creates a “positive feedback loop” where both parties express their gratitude and feel awesome! For the rest of the week…

If you constantly remind yourself of the good things other person has done to you it might get hard to even get angry at them or when you do, it’s resolved quickly coz you know there’s more to this person than just this one incident.

So gratitude also helps in relationships! ❀️

6. Expressing gratitude tends to inhibit invidious comparison with others.

I am going for a vacation in Bahamas! Yay! I’m so excited for it… Where are you going?

For this vacation I’m going to visit my family after a year! Due to work and being in different country I cannot visit them that often. I’m so blessed to spend this vacation with them! I can’t wait to see my little sister and play some pranks with her… Haha..

Did person 2 feel jealous?

No!

Because she appreciates what she has. Did she compare? Nah! I don’t think so…

That’s what feeling of gratitude does.. it helps you appreciate what you have and makes you less materialistic.

7. Practice of gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions and may actually dimnish or deter such feelings as anger, bitterness and greed.

Can you feel angry and happy at the same time?

You can’t! No one can…

Some bittersweet feelings are there… But not really

If you thank someone for helping you, (genuinely) they are more likely to do that in future. Not just to you, but to others as well. It’s like creating a positive ripple. Everyone is benefited.

Do you feel guilty sometimes receiving help?

You won’t when you thank them from the bottom of your heart. You’ll realise you’re surrounded by kind people and they’ll feel happy as they are the kind ones.

Win-win situation for both parties!

8. Gratitude helps us thwart hedonic adaptation.

Do you remember the excitement you feel when you get something you always wanted…. And after few days… You don’t feel that happy about the thing.

For example – You always wanted to try the donuts of that new donut shop. Suddenly they open a branch next to your house. You feel sooo happy, you eat their donuts straight for 2 weeks.

Would you feel like going to that shop again? Will the excitement be the same?

Noooooo

(don’t lie.. it won’t)

Sooo… Here’s what you can do

When you go there next time, order a donut and feel grateful for the opportunity to eat it. Like… Wow… This is so yummm…. *Takes a bite… Wowww… I’ve never tasted anything like this….. It’s soo good!!!!

Just don’t say this loudly or you may never be allowed to enter the shop again!πŸ˜‚

But you get the point right?!

Hedonic adaptation is the way you adapt to new changes quickly and it doesn’t feel so interesting afterwards

So gratitude comes to your rescue even here!

See… I told you I’m gonna brainwash you into practicing gratitude.

So tell me… Was I successful in my mission? 😁

And lastly….

What’s good?

Pause. Stop criticising for a while. Stop ruminating about how bad you are doing. Stop overthinking about the situation.

Just ask yourself

What’s good?

We hardly take time to see what are the good things that are happening with us.

No really, ask yourself What’s good that happened today?

What’s good that happened last week?

What’s good that is happening right now?

Maybe it’s the great family dinner you had last week, maybe it’s your favorite dish your mom cooked for you yesterday, maybe it’s sharing quality time with your best friend today.

Talk about these things!

Notice them.

Appreciate that.

Share your happy memories πŸ’•

The best way to multiply your happiness, is to share it with others.

Next time when you meet someone don’t ask them how they are doing and how was their day… Ask them – What’s good?

Can money buy happiness?

Okay, so being a positive psychology student (someone who studies happiness and well being) this is the question I am really curious about.

When I was small, I used to think that “Hell yes! Money does buy happiness. I can buy teddy, candy and go to adventure parks with money and it makes me sooo happy!”

As I grew up, I learnt to examine the issue from different dimensions.

Turns out that the happiness I found in candies and teddies didn’t last that long. After some time I got used to it and it didn’t excite me as it did before.

And it was not like those things always made me happy.

When I was sad and feeling lonely, no matter how much money was spent on buying me teddies and candies, I didn’t feel happy.

All I needed was a warm embrace from my mom and endless talks with her.

So, did money bring happiness?

Yes, when it was spent on adventure parks and family dinners.

Even now I long for those happy times I had with my family. These memories, they are still fresh and those pictures still make me smile.

Money does bring happiness when spent on having experiences with loved ones.

But there is another perspective to it.

For the people who are poor, money does bring a lot of happiness.

But once your needs are fulfilled, money starts loosing it’s value.

When you are hungry and have your favorite cookie, your satisfaction level is 100.

When you have another cookie that satisfaction level drops to 98

When you have yet another cookie the satisfaction level drops to 92

And so on…

There is this concept of ‘hedonic treadmill’ in psychology.

The hedonic treadmill theory states that our circumstances, including extremes like winning the lottery or becoming a paraplegic, alter our happiness level temporarily, and we quickly adjust back to a fixed emotional set point.

It basically means we get used to the new things that we have in our life – the good ones as well as the bad ones.

Therefore, the “happiness” money buyes is not long lasting.

There is actually a threshold of the happiness money can buy. Up to a certain point, it can, but once it exceeds the threshold, it cannot “buy” happiness.

Experts say that happiness does increase with wealth. But the correlation peaks at earning 75000$ per year.

Money is important. No doubt. But it’s not a necessity to be happy.

Here are two simple ways you can use to slow down the hedonic treadmill –

1. Be mindful of what you have. Bring your attention to the present. Feel those moments when you enjoy what you have and don’t take that for granted.

2. Try for a while to imagine your life without the stuff you have now, the people in your life now.

How do you feel?

Lonely, sad…?

Feel grateful for their presence. For the joy they bring to you.

Think about the good stuff your friends and family members have done for you and still do.

And… don’t forget to thank themβ™₯️

I think… More than money, gratitude brings joy. What do you think?

Lemme know in the comments!

Hope you all are having a great day!😊

Writing a diary…

I’ve started writing a diary since the start of this month.

I always wondered, why do people keep diaries? Why to write you day in it? It won’t be of any use in future…

Recently, I came across a very beautiful article written on WordPress by a girl who kept writing a dairy since she was 7/8 years old. The way she told her experience and the beautiful way in which she conveyed the importance and need of writing a diary touched my heart.

Therefore I decided to write a diary and see what happens.

Also when I started, I was having emotional imbalance. I read it somewhere that writing about your emotions helps.

So that’s what pushed me to try this new ritual.

I’ve been writing for a month now and I realised that everything that girl mentioned in her blog was so true! And there are many other benefits as well.

I’d like to share them with you.

Here are few ways in which keeping a dairy helped me –

1. Improved my writing.

I feel it much easier to express my emotions through words now.

As I write about my daily life and what happened and how I felt, it also kinda improves my storytelling. Every day when you write a diary, you eventually try different and interesting ways to tell the incident.

It’s fun!

2. Reduced my overthinking.

When you are writing about something, you tend to analyse it. You cannot write the same stuff again and again. At some point (usually after 3-5 mins) you run out of negative thoughts to write.

That’s helpful. It helps you gain clarity on your thoughts. When your thoughts are on paper, it’s easy to analyse them and rule out the ones that really don’t make any sense.

But when these same thoughts continue to stay in your head, you get into downward spiral of overthinking.

3. I can enjoy good memories, any time! πŸ™‚

Yes! When you’re writing about your good emotions, note the details of the situation and express yourself.

When you go through it the next week you will feel as if you’re living the experience once again.

You will feel grateful for those beautiful moments you had in your life.

4. I realised every day is new.

Now this might sound pretty obvious. But when you write diary you truly feel it. Every single day is unique, no matter how same your tedious chores are. There are many different things that happen every day.

I used to think how boring my life is, doing the same repetitive tasks again and again. But now I understand, there are many small, new elements you can include in your daily life to make it more interesting.

This might also remind you that every day is a fresh start and you have the ability to make it more beautiful.

5. Reduces stress –

When you are stressed or overwhelmed and there are so many thoughts in your mind that you find hard to control, writing them down can be helpful.

Once they are on paper, they do not bother you that much.

6. Makes it easy to reflect on yourself –

It gives you time and opportunity to think about yourself. About your feelings, about your growth, about your problems and about your happiness.

Life is short. It goes by quick. Between out hectic schedules it’s easy to miss out the little moments of happiness and growth. You need to hold on to those little moments and reflect on them. Pay attention to them. Live them.

7. It makes it super easy to track your progress –

You want to develop a habit. Or you want to read 500 pages of the novel this month.

All of these tasks need you to keep a track record of your progress.

How cool would it be to write that – You are following up on your habit or you are on your way to achieve your goal every day in your diary!

You’d feel proud and happy. Even when you are not able to keep up to your word, when you write about it, you feel the need to continue the behaviour in future.

So that’s how this “new” behaviour has now become my helpful habit.

You can try this out too guys!

What is your experience with writing a diary? Or starting a new habit?

Please share in the comments below!

I’d like to read! πŸ™‚

Hope you all are having a fantastic week my friends!!

Psych fest in college

This week we had psychology fest in our college. Anddd to my pleasant surprise the topic was – Positive psychology!

It was focused on choti choti khushiyan. i.eHappiness in little things.

We learnt a lot in detail about happiness and other positive psychology concepts and had fun.

There was also a session on gratitude. They talked about expressing gratitude in our Indian culture.

Expressing gratitude is not so common in our culture. I mean we don’t go on saying thank you to our mom and dad everytime they do something good for us.

Its understood that our mom dad are going to take care of us and we love them, they love us.

If you try to say thank you to your mom dad for something they’ve done for you, they’ll probably say something like – Usme kaunsi badi baat hai?

Our ma’am shared her experience. When her husband was out of station and she had to look after her kids on her own, she realised how tough it is. She realised that her mom must’ve went through the same struggle to raise her and her brother. She felt truly grateful for everything her mom had done for her and she called her at night. (just to say a big thank you)

Her mom heard what she had to say and said – Teri tabiyat toh thik hai na? Itni raat ko kyu jaag rahi hai? ja so ja.

πŸ˜„Happens.

I heard another incident.

This lady was a single mother. She worked and looked after her little daughter. Whenever she came home from office her daughter used to run and hug her and tell her how much she loved her. Every day she unknowingly waited for this moment.

One day her mom came to stay with them. She felt really good whenever her mom came to stay with them as she would take care of the household chores and reduce the burden on her shoulders.

After some days she realised that her mother was helping her so much, but as her daughter expressed her love every day, she didn’t express her gratitude to her mom.

One day she decided to tell her mom how much she meant to her. She rehearsed everything she was about to say.

Next morning at breakfast table she was planning to say it. But then she realised this might sound artificial or wierd and so she left that day without saying anything.

That day she was thinking about it every moment and felt guilty for not saying.

Next day, she decided to express her gratitude no matter what.

Next morning she told her mother how much she meant to her. How much she valued her presence in her life, how grateful she was to her by her side.

Her mom said nothing.

She left for work. This time she felt light. She had finally expressed her gratitude.

That day when she came home in the evening she saw her mom was cooking (as usual) but there was something unusual – She was humming a tune while she was cooking. πŸ™‚

These heartfelt words touch our heart somewhere deep down.

So guys I want to tell you – Expressing gratitude might seem a bit weird or unusual – but say what you feel. Tell them how much they mean to you. How happy and blessed you feel to have them in your life.

They may not react in a way you expected but you will feel light and these words will touch their heart. And honestly – It’s so beautiful to express our love to our loved ones while we have them with us.

Tell them how much they mean to you. Express your love and gratitude. Especially to your parents, because it’s most likely that their efforts while raising us go unnoticed.

Do you have any such memory? Where you expressed your gratitude and felt good? When someone else expressed their gratitude towards you – how did you feel?

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