Being thankful is not only good for your mental health, as proven by science, but also impacts your physical body. It is time to unlock the mystery.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.– Roald Dahl
Gratitude is one of the qualities that can get you closer to the magic of life. And to experience this magic, you have to believe in it and work on it.
What is gratitude?
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. The expression of gratitude is equally important as feeling it.
Gratitude is a human emotion that can be most simply defined as appreciation or acknowledgment of an altruistic act.
I love the explanation in Psychology Today by Peter Emmons, “Gratitude is a process of recognising, first, that one has obtained a positive outcome and, second, that there is an external source for that good outcome. Gratitude is an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self. So it emerges from two stages of information processing: affirming and recognising. Gratitude is the recognition that life owes me nothing, and that all the good I have is a gift. It is a response to all that has been given. It’s a way of seeing that alters our gaze. Living gratefully begins with affirming the good and recognising its sources.”
Magic in my life
I felt like a victim of my circumstances for the longest time. Upon my wedding, my expectations from my life after my wedding had really shattered me. The transition from being a child to being married and living as a couple with the in-laws and serving them was too huge for me to handle. At twenty-two years I was at the peak of my life—full of love, enthusiasm, and excitement. I was not ready to take any responsibility.
Before I got married, I had started my fashion brand Meher & Riddhima and had a vision for it. But after I got married, it was extremely challenging for me to work as my expected first priority was to take care of the household with my mother-in-law. Though my mother-in-law has been my biggest supporter, my inexperience and lack of knowledge of myself, along with the short courtship I had with my husband, made me suffer in my head.
I was miserable for 12 years because I was seeing everything that was missing in my life rather than seeing what was great in my life. It’s about changing perspectives.
My experience with gratitude started when I read the book the Magic by Rhonda Byrne. It’s a book with 28 days of gratitude and activities after each chapter. At first, it seemed a bit strange, but as I engaged myself and consistently read and did the exercises, I started feeling comfortable. The book gives a great insight to why gratitude is imperative to live a fulfilled life and that it is not us or our circumstances but how we view it that causes the pain. The book also gives us reason from several religious backgrounds to affirm the concept of gratitude.
As soon as I started exercising gratitude, feeling it and living it from within, my whole world changed. Now that I had understood all that gratitude was, I had to practise it,
1. I put on a different lens
To put on a different lens means actually seeing the event from the perspective of seeing the positive side in each and everything that happens to us. I constantly asked myself questions — what is the benefit to me, how is this event in my favour, how is it making me who I am meant to be, how is it helping me fulfill my values? The answers to these were enlightening. I propose you use this.
2. I started a gratitude journal
Journalling gratitude helped me reflect, provided me with an emotional outlet, helped reduce stress, and shifted my energy. It was the means to put the positive perspective in writing in front of me. It created an elevated state of being, changed my energy. I journal every day in the morning and strongly recommend it to you, it sets the energy for the day and you attract more of it.
3. I express gratitude boldly
The journal also gave me courage to accept and express gratitude boldly. I could say more ‘Thank you’ to myself and people around me. As I felt more, I could express more. And the more I expressed the more grateful I felt. That’s when the magic starts because it comes back tenfold.
Magic is all around us, all we have to do is believe in it, feel it, receive it. It is a process to align your personality to your soul and connect it to the energy in the quantum field.
Science has proved, people who regularly practise gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
In the words of Dr Joe Dispenza, Gratitude teaches your body emotionally that the event you’re grateful for has already happened, because we usually give thanks after a desirable event has occurred. If you bring up the emotion of gratitude before the actual event, your body (as the unconscious mind) will begin to believe that the future event has indeed already happened—or is happening to you in the present moment. Gratitude, therefore, is the ultimate state of receivership.
When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.– Tecumseh, Shawnee Native American Leader
This article was originally written by Meher Mirchandani for Thrive Global. It was first published on 16 October 2020.