Gratitude key to true happiness

We’ve known each other for nine years now, since we first connected on Ryze, and she’s been blogging for ten years! And in all this time, I’ve not had the pleasure to welcome Vidya Sury to guest post here. But I’m glad she’s here today.

Her philosophy that Happiness is a DIY project is apparent in her ability to see good in all situations and be the kind and generous soul she is!

Do visit her blogs and also Follow Vidya on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.

Take it away, Vidya. Thank you.

 

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Gratitude key to true happiness

Thank you for inviting me, Corinne. I am honored to be here today as part of your Living Gratitude series.

When I was going through a tough time at one point in my life, my Mother suggested we play a quick game. She said, let’s take a sheet of paper each and quickly list all the things we’re grateful for, till date. For good measure, we gave ourselves 3 minutes. I was overwhelmed to realize that my list kept growing. I was even more overwhelmed to see my Mom’s list.

From that day on, whenever I feel low, I quickly list ten things I am grateful for. And just the sight of that list has me feeling great again. It is now a happy habit my son also practices.

Practice is key with gratitude.
And gratitude the key to happiness.

I have realized it is easy to rejoice and feel thankful when we get what we expect. It is tougher to appreciate what we have when we feel disappointed. I consciously pledged to be grateful for what IS, rather than what isn’t.

If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse

This was brought home to me with the greatest force when my Mother was diagnosed with lung disease in 1997. It took almost 6-7 months for the doctors to make the diagnosis. They said she had six months – max a year to live. She wangled the truth out of them and laughed when they told her. She said she was grateful for everything she had and would die happy.
When we returned home she scolded us out of our long faces and said something I’ll never forget. She said,

“Let’s make every moment matter. Let’s consciously stop complaining and appreciate every little thing. Including the mop that helps us clean our house. The ants that share our food. Let’s live with gratitude.”

She lived for twelve more years. Mostly cheerful, encouraging us, except when she was very sick. If I have a good life today, I owe it to her.

I make it a point to pause and take a few moments every day to appreciate the things I take for granted.

Today I am grateful for the challenges in my life, because they only make me stronger. They help me explore, stretch out of my comfort zone and be better.

Celebrate the little things for one day, they are the big things

So, what am I grateful for?

Every. Little. Thing.

The burnt toasts – because my family cares
The dust in my house – because housework keeps me fit. For cheap.
For a brand new day when I wake up every morning
Aches and pain, because I have a living, breathing body
The big things
Food, shelter and clothing
My family’s love
My friends who always stand by me
My work which brings an income, helping me realize my dream of supporting the underprivileged
Technology for keeping me connected no matter where I am
Every experience for teaching me something, making me stronger

Everything matters. No matter how you see it.

Don’t wait for a special occasion to say thanks

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” Arthur Ward

Pretty much true, eh?

There’s no time like the present. That’s why it is called a gift. Let’s use it.

Here are some random ways to practice gratitude:

  • Call, email or text someone to tell them how much you appreciate them. Tell them you care. Do it now. I’ll wait.
  • Make a contribution to your local welfare home. The joy is immense
  • Open your closet and pick a couple of things to give away. Don’t forget to gift wrap it
  • Pack some of your food and go give it to someone on the street, someone who does not know where her/his next meal is coming from
  • Have old winter clothes you are unlikely to use? Give it away. You’ll feel great about keeping someone warm
  • Check your linen closet. There’s always something to give away.
  • Help someone run an errand
  • Pick up the phone and call an old friend you haven’t been in touch with and reminisce. Relive the moment. Such a shot of adrenalin
  • Starting today, compliment everyone you come in contact with. There’s always something to appreciate – their smile, their attire, their words…think!
  • Smile a lot and spread your sunshine
  • Hug your loved ones and say I love you everyday
  • List 5 people you are crazy about. Get them a gift for no reason.

Finally, do not forget to celebrate yourself.

Count your blessings, not your problems

Don’t forget to expect good things. When I was very young, my Grandmother once told me that I have an angel sitting on my shoulder listening to my thoughts, waiting to make my wishes come true. I believed her then. I believe her now.

What are you grateful for? Please share three things.

With love and gratitude,

Vidya