Article in brief: The writer explores the power of gratitude and the benefits associated with living life in a space of thankfulness.
In the age of self-help books and a time where many individuals have an increased awareness of the power of the mind and human spirit many writers, psychologists, life coaches, entrepreneurs and celebrities have become more vocal about the benefits of gratitude. Oprah Winfrey, Rhonda Byrne, Anthony Robbins, and Jack Canfield have attributed being thankful as a key towards attracting abundance and continued success. History is also filled with examples of famous figures who practiced gratitude such as Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein and many more whose achievements have put them amongst the greatest people that have ever lived.
There is deep wisdom in the old saying of “Count your Blessings” that stems from an understanding of the power of gratitude. The abundance gratitude brings has been mentioned in several verses of the Holy Quran and Bible as well as many ancient scriptures. In the Holy Quran chapter 14 verse 7 “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe”. In the Bible, Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God”.
So what is the wisdom behind being grateful? Prophets, scientists, philosophers, celebrities and average individuals who have an attitude of gratitude have all shared the benefit of focusing on what we have versus what we don’t have as a key towards attracting abundance. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said that gratitude for the abundance you’ve received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue. Newton’s law says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; the act of giving thanks has an equal and opposite reaction of receiving more of what you are thankful for. Those who practiced gratitude reaped its results, yet many are still ignorant to its power.
The first and most subtle difference is that it creates positive feelings within us. Being grateful for the smallest things creates a measurable shift in our energy and releases hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and adrenaline in our bodies which all promote feelings of happiness and energy.
Getting ourselves to feel good makes us open to receive the joy in life and that empowers us to have a more positive outlook and feel happier. We all know that feeling happy makes our daily interactions more enjoyable as well as creates more fulfilling experiences in our relationships. Extensive Medical and Scientific research has shown that negative feelings of unhappiness negatively impacts our immunity and over prolonged periods leads to stress which is known to be one of the factors behind hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, depression and even cancer.
Therefore one of the things that researchers have found very beneficial to invoking positive feelings is gratitude. Researchers found that people who said thank you and expressed gratitude were happier and those who wrote their blessings showed a measurable jump in the levels of happiness. A leading Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaro Emoto measured the effect of gratitude on water molecules and as the majority of the human body is made of water this research is an indication of the impact positive words of gratitude and love have on our bodies.
Having read all this research on the benefits of counting blessings and living life from a space of gratitude, I tested out a few of the suggested practices and found one that I have incorporated as a daily ritual. I started keeping a gratitude journal and every evening before I go to sleep I write 10 things I am grateful for. Some days when I am having a particularly difficult day and find it challenging to come up with 10 things I go back to the basics like being grateful for my health and the comfort of my home. Just reading my gratitude journal immediately uplifts my spirit and creates a positive feeling within me.
This year I added a new practice I read about that suggested creating a memory jar and writing one event or moment each day that you were grateful for and put that into a jar; and on any day that you don’t particularly feel very happy pull out the pieces of papers from the memory jar and you will immediately feel blessed and smile at the wonderful memories.
When we get ourselves into the space of gratitude all things seem possible and this allows us to operate at a higher frequency making us more creative, resourceful and capable of dealing with our day to day lives. When practiced regularly along with other positive habits it creates experiences at a more positive level and opens up many possibilities. Long before modern research, ancient wisdom and spiritual teachings have pointed this out to us and shown us that the door to abundance is through gratitude as mentioned in chapter 3 verse 144 of the Holy Quran: “Allah will give reward to those who are grateful”. The rewards and feelings I have experienced from counting my blessings make me a strong believer that we have so much to be grateful for and life lived in gratitude is so much more fulfilling. I am so grateful for the gifts of health and family and truly blessed to receive love and support from them.
Sarah is an award-winning entrepreneur, business development specialist, life coach, writer, banking and investments professional with over 15 years of experience. She is the co-founder of the award-winning firm Infin8Ventures. Through her column, she hopes to re-ignite the dreamer in all of us and inspire us to make those dreams a reality.