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Gratitude Key To True Happiness: Living Gratitude Series

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.

 

*****

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

60 Comments

  1. […] it, seeing how much gratitude is a part of my life. Last December, I ran a series called the Living Gratitude Series here. Then thanks to the initiative of Laurel Regan, I now share a gratitude list every week and a […]

  2. Debbie Debbie November 16, 2013

    Wonderful post, Vidya! I especially like the idea of listing 10 things we are grateful for, when life gets tough. That is the most important time to practice gratitude and remain optimistic.
    Three things I am grateful for:
    My husband of 40+ years
    My (relatively) good health.
    Living in a great country.
    Cheers! 🙂
    Debbie recently posted..GUEST POST AT EVERYDAY GYAAN: HOW GRATITUDE WILL HELP YOU COPEMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      Debbie, I am so happy I can say “same to you” for the wonderful post. I loved yours! Gratitude completely changes the way life unfolds because even tough situations don’t look so tough when we appreciate the good stuff.

      Thank you so much for sharing your three things – may you always stay blessed!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Inspiring Stories. You Are Stronger Than You ThinkMy Profile

  3. Cathy Graham Cathy Graham November 15, 2013

    Loved your post, Vidya. So inspiring and such great tips about practicing gratitude.

    Three things I’m grateful for:
    My wonderful online friends like you whom I can share with daily
    My family, friends and pets
    Being able to express and share my creativity daily whether by writing, photography, doing art work, playing flute and singing. I feel so grateful to do things I’m passionate about.

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      How wonderful the internet is, and blogging, Cat! I am grateful we connected too. I loved your post in this series!

      Your list of three is wonderful! You are so talented! Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Stop Complaining. Now.My Profile

  4. latha latha November 14, 2013

    I’m in love with this woman! Vidya, there can’t be a post more positive than this. Many big hugs..how I missed reading you often and not letting you know how much I appreciate.
    The three things that come to my mind right off the bat are:
    1. My mom coming and staying with me
    2. Two beautiful, healthy kids and family
    3. Though things don’t happen my way, I am blessed in thousand ways which I can’t count 🙂
    Corinne, you are on a roll of guest posts. That was such a beautiful post. Thank you both!

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      Latha, you are truly blessed! I love your three things. You know I was never apart from my Mom throughout my life, until she passed away in Feb 2010! I am grateful for her influence and presence.

      And Latha, you just made my day. I am going to hold your words close to my heart. Thank you!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Stop Complaining. Now.My Profile

  5. Vishnu Vishnu November 14, 2013

    Thanks for the reminder for more gratitude, Vidya. I can never read enough about gratitude because there is really no downside to it. I’ve been practicing gratefulness now for the past few years and writing down a few items a day that I’m thankful for helps keep my spirits up. Instead of focusing on disappointments and injustices, gratitude reminds us of all the good things in our lives. Even gratitude for sandy beaches, sunsets and raindrops – the things that we receive without cost but are filled with so much beauty.

    What I’m taking away from this post is to practice more random acts of gratitude 🙂 Just because thank you’s! How often do we do or say something to the people around us who we’ve just gotten used to and know they will always be there. Why not do something for them or thank them?

    Thank you both for this post today.

    I’m grateful for blogging, grateful to friends being there during difficult times and grateful for inspiring life lessons from friends who have shared their inspirational life stories with me lately.

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      Vishnu, I can see you’re a wonderful guy from the fantastic blog posts you write. They are so full of insight and presented so beautifully – I never leave without a smile. Yes, a simple thank you can brighten up so many lives through a day!
      Thank you for your lovely comment.
      I am grateful to the blogosphere – and the connections I’ve made and that includes you, my dear friend!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Blissed Out With HappinessMy Profile

  6. Rae Buchanan Rae Buchanan November 13, 2013

    I absolutely love that I have found your blog site Vidya! I found you through +Vanita Cyril, another awesome blogger expert. Your posts always give me a pick me up and I really do feel happier having read them. I love that you try to help the underprivileged with your blog, I hope to help children and animals once my business becomes profitable. Looking forward to your next post Vidya! Enjoy your day!
    Rae Buchanan recently posted..Tried and True Thanksgiving Games for Kids Part IMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      Rae, the feeling is mutual. I love you too! And that Vanita, ah, what a sister to have! Love you!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Stop Complaining. Now.My Profile

  7. Suzy Suzy November 13, 2013

    Nice post Vidya.
    I am always grateful for my kids who are my strength and joy.
    I am also grateful for a job I love
    But today I am grateful for a sense of humour – needed that a lot at work today
    Suzy recently posted..Moments of joyMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 24, 2013

      That’s a beautiful list of three, Suzy! I too find that a sense of humor is a great way to make life better! Thank you, Suzy!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Stop Complaining. Now.My Profile

  8. Anyta Anyta November 13, 2013

    That was beautiful and heartwarming post Vidya.
    I am grateful for :
    1. A very dear daughter who makes me laugh when things go awry.
    2. Challenges: what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger!
    3. Just happy to see the sun shining and another day to explore.

  9. Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson November 13, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom about gratitude. You were blessed to grow up in such a family. I have a gratitude partner. We exchange emails of four things we are grateful for each day. Both she and the process have been blessing in my life.

    I am grateful for a bonus daughter who does my hair and won’t let me pay her
    for a husband who supports my writing dreams,
    for the stable family I grew up in.

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 13, 2013

      Oh I love your gratitude partner idea, Dorothy! You sound blessed. May you always stay that way! Thank you so much for sharing!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Little Scoops Of JoyMy Profile

      • Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson November 13, 2013

        I am truly blessed. Rachel and I have never met in person, but we are becoming friends as we share our gratitudes each day.

  10. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi November 13, 2013

    This is a very rich post. I am grateful for having taken the shape/form of a human being (God’s fav creation) on this planet. In my next birth (?) , I do not know what form will I take.I am grateful to experience Pain to know what joy is.

  11. Richa Singh Richa Singh November 12, 2013

    The post is what Vidya’s posts are- inspiring, endearing and of course in a sweet way tingling with happy thoughts.

    Now what is it that I am grateful for? Three things?

    I am grateful for my dear husband who despite all my tantrums and drama still misses me if I go away for an hour or so.

    I am grateful to having been with my mother for whole of thirteen years so that now I know what kind of a person I wish to be.

    I am grateful for the sense to string words together, because honestly if it wasn’t for writing I wonder how I would have survived all these years. True story.

    And that’s about it 😀
    Richa Singh recently posted..A journey to remember!My Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 13, 2013

      Richa I see you as an amazing person -I don’t know how you manage all that you do, with such good cheer! Thank you for sharing your three things – I suspect it is a longer list 🙂 Hugs! Glad we are connected!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Counting My Blessings Each DayMy Profile

  12. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian November 12, 2013

    A larger than usual dose of positivity from you, Vidya!
    Yes, there’s always, always, always something to be thankful for! That ‘something’ keeps changing. At this moment, I’m thankful that:
    1. Vidya wrote this beautiful post.
    2. Corinne hosted this post.
    3. Readers have posted meaningful comments.
    Proactive Indian recently posted..‘A**hole’ or ‘Idiot’?My Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 13, 2013

      Pro, you do know how to make my morning, right? 🙂 As I was telling Shilpa in her comment, what brings me the most joy is that I know every one who has commented here pretty well. I love the feeling of community.

      🙂 I am glad you are here, Pro. I may wear semi black frames, but my mental eyewear is always colored pink 😀
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Counting My Blessings Each DayMy Profile

  13. Cathy Taughinbaugh Cathy Taughinbaugh November 12, 2013

    Hi Vidya and Corinne,

    Having gratitude in my life is the mind shift that has kept me on a positive trajectory. It makes such a difference to take a moment and appreciate everything we do have. Thanks for sharing your lovely post! It is always a needed reminder!
    Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted..Release Your Fear, Regain Your Hope, Reclaim Your LifeMy Profile

  14. meenamenon meenamenon November 12, 2013

    1. for family from my pareant to sis to husband to my in-laws
    2. for the loe of books – ensures i don hv many dull moments
    3. for friends – online-offline!
    meenamenon recently posted..When You Love…..My Profile

  15. Rekha Rekha November 12, 2013

    That was such a rich post. And yes, being grateful for the things we have makes us realise how happy and blessed we are. To me, my Dad is the one who pours in such thoughts and I just love him fir that. The simple giveaways indeed make you feel content. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom. If we follow at least half of them, life will be so much more beautiful. 🙂
    Rekha recently posted..Effects of Parental DiscordMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      True Rekha. Giving is guaranteed to bring joy. Cherish your Dad, you’re blessed to have him. I read your post “Platinum Love” yesterday and loved it. Wishing you happiness! Thank you for your wonderful comment!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

  16. Elle Elle November 12, 2013

    Wonderful post Vidya. I always love hearing stories about your mum, she sounds so much like mine. I still miss her words of wisdom…but as you say there’s so much to be thankful for in each and every day. If we’d just look around at our world, our life with grateful eyes we’d be amazed.
    Elle recently posted..How To Stay On Track When Things Are Falling ApartMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      I am thankful for the light you shine in my life, Elle, my soul sister! Gratitude makes the world look beautiful! Thank you so much for commenting! Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Little Scoops Of JoyMy Profile

  17. Jairam Mohan Jairam Mohan November 12, 2013

    This truly was such an awesome post bringing together two of my favorite bloggers together, Corinne and Vidya.

    And you Vidya have woven poetry with this simple yet heartwarming post. Love all your posts in general, but this one will surely hold a special place.

    As for me, these are some of the things that I am grateful for (in no particular order), the smiles on my two yr old girl’s face, the smiles on my thirty yr old wife’s face, the smiles on my sixty plus yr old parents’ faces, I guess the smiles are probably the top most things in my life that I am most grateful for.
    Jairam Mohan recently posted..If stones could talkMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Dear Jairam, No wonder it is said that a smile is a curve that sets everything straight!
      One of the things I learned very early in life was to appreciate our immediate family and then extend this to all the people connected with us. Even those that bug us do us a favor, you know?
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. You know I am a fan of your writing!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Letting Go, A Sign of StrengthMy Profile

  18. Sandra Pawula Sandra Pawula November 11, 2013

    Wow, if you can be grateful for dust, Vidya, I’m on board! As always, you have such a spectacular, heart-felt way of expressing a simple truth that brings us home to our true self and elevates our own happiness. I always love to hear stories about your mother, too. She was such a special person. I’m grateful for your mother who brought you to us!
    Sandra Pawula recently posted..My Simplicity Experiments: Interview at Simpler PursuitsMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Sandra, I am overwhelmed with your comment. Hugs! I wish my Mom were here today, I would have somehow convinced her to blog, too. Thank you for your special words! Oh yes, dust if you must. This reminded me of something: we have a chest of drawers about three and a half feet high. It is placed near a window. When Vidur was a couple of years old, he’d hold the top with his little fingers when he was near it.

      Each morning, my Mom had the habit of wiping the surfaces of things in her room soon after we had our coffee. She would never wipe the top of this chest of drawers right away. She’d admire the little finger marks and point out how the dust shone in the early morning sunshine. I used to find it amusing that she was so besotted with her grandson…but it is what made her special. She was like that with everyone.

      Hugs and thanks for the joy you made me feel.
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

  19. Pixie Pixie November 11, 2013

    Wonderful post!
    I am grateful for all the things you have mentioned and some more!
    The ability to smile and remain cheerful
    My patience levels when it comes to my knee and its healing
    My friends for keeping me company and always making sure I’m never lonely!
    My family (K for always being there!)

    So many many things – the ability to put my thoughts into words
    my capacity for love and understanding
    My love for books.
    This blog world
    Write Tribe for introducing lovely people like you and Cory!

    I need to keep coming back to this post! 🙂

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Awww, Pixie.What a sweet comment! I admire what you have listed here. Your knee is going to heal much faster than you think! Life feels great when we are thankful for all that we have. Thank you!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

  20. Kathy Kathy November 11, 2013

    Such a happy feel good post. What an example your mother set and what a true testament she was to the idea of gratitude and living life to the fullest. My mother was much the same way when she was diagnosed with cancer. So positive, so upbeat, and so determined to enjoy every moment she had left. She lived only 10 months from the time she was diagnosed and like your mom she lived each day with gratitude and happy to be alive. She made me realize how short life is and that each day is a gift we should be thankful to live. ♥
    Kathy recently posted..Never ForgetMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Hugs, Kathy! Our Mothers are a constant source of inspiration. I like to think her spirit lives in me…and try to be my best self. I consider myself very lucky that she was my Mom – and I often used to tease her saying – in my next life I do not want her to be my Mom, but my daughter, so I can pamper her and love her the way she cherished me.

      Thank you for sharing about you Mom, Kathy. I just love your delightful smile!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

  21. Rachna Rachna November 11, 2013

    Truly lovely post, Vidya. Having met you on many occasions and counting you as a friend, I totally concur with Corinne’s introduction of you. There is something very warm and happy about you that instantly rubs off on others. Thank you for sharing your trick to feel happy in dejected situations. I promise to do that from now on, making a list of things that I am grateful for. As for your question, 3 things that I am grateful for are:
    *A happy and loving family that includes parents, siblings, husband, kids and my dog! Add to that is a bunch of good friends who care about me.
    *My own attitude to learn, adapt and change.
    *My health and my work that keeps me happy and motivated.
    There are many more but since you asked for three :). Loved the post!

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Rachna, I had to bring out the tissues again. No.. I just used my upper sleeve to wipe off the tears. I find it so easy to turn on the tear-tap these days. Hugs! Thank you for such kind words. I am happy we met, too. May you stay blessed! I appreciate your lovely comment!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Fran, you always make me feel wonderful with your beautiful words and inspire me to be better. Thank you for your presence in my life. Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Letting Go, A Sign of StrengthMy Profile

  22. Alka Alka November 11, 2013

    Beautiful thoughts Vidya. We as mothers need to inculcate this habit from childhood. You are lucky, your mom is an inspiration.

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Thank you, Alka! Lucky, yes. 🙂 Life takes on a different palette of colors when we appreciate. 🙂 Glad you are here today!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Are You An Early Riser?My Profile

  23. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg November 11, 2013

    Thanks for an inspiring post, Vidya. We should certainly count our blessings!! And yes, there is always, always, always lots to be thankful for. I am grateful for a husband who stays positive and determined despite odds. I am thankful for all the ups and downs in my life… lots of smiles and lots of learnings from them. I am thankful for having some wonderful friends, their laughter, their friendship is like sunshine in our life. 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Catch-22My Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      You’re right, Shilpa! Sunshine is the perfect word – it gives life, and helps grow. You know what I am loving about answering comments here today? That I know almost everyone. And that fills my heart with joy.

      Thank you, Shilpa! Blessed to be connected!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Wabi Sabi – Celebrating ImperfectionMy Profile

  24. vanita vanita November 11, 2013

    Absolutely wonderful post. Love it. Vidya you’re mom’s personality and outlook on life was just outstanding. You were very lucky to have her mama. So wished I could have met her. I guess today, as much as I dislike cooking, I will have to add my stove to my list of things I’m grateful for since I use it to feed my family. Corinne thanks for starting off my day just right by having Vidya here. And Vidya, thanks for introducing me to Everyday Gyaan.
    Have a wonderful week, Vanita
    vanita recently posted..How To Protect Your Posts From ThievesMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Vani my sis, hugs! I am pretty sure Mom would have doted on you (and the bonuses – your kids!). You are a gift to me, you know? Hugs! So happy you’re here, and in my life.
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Counting My Blessings Each DayMy Profile

  25. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew November 11, 2013

    It begins with a thank you……when we thank, we attract more to be thankful for! A great post, Vidya!!
    Michelle Liew recently posted..An amazing mazeMy Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Michelle, ma belle! (always wanted to say that!) Two little words, huge difference, eh?

      Thank you, Michelle! I am in awe of your blog!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Little Scoops Of JoyMy Profile

  26. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando November 11, 2013

    Having a gratitude attitude in life is the very heart of happiness. Beautifully expressed here, Vidya!
    I am thankful for so many things, but three are: my husband, my home, my family.
    Blessings to you!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Give Me a Break!My Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Hi Martha! How lovely to meet you! Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, being grateful makes life so much brighter and happier. Your family is blessed to have you!
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Are You An Early Riser?My Profile

  27. Roshan R Roshan R November 11, 2013

    Wonderful post and something I should follow more often..
    Regarding what matters and what I’m grateful for:
    1. Having parents who have supported me at times when I was too weak and defeated to carry on.
    2. Every patient who makes it out of my operation theater without harm.
    3. A chance to be published in paperback form… something I dreamed of as a kid but never thought would be possible.
    Roshan R recently posted..Snoopy Files 002 – The dog, the bone and the tree.My Profile

    • Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 12, 2013

      Roshan, you’ve listed three beautiful things! We often take what we have for granted and enjoy the goodness. You are blessed, thanks to your profession, for having the ability to be of valuable service. You write so well, I can only imagine how fantastic your book will be. Do it soon! 🙂
      Thank you for your presence here today.
      Vidya Sury recently posted..Gratitude, A Practice, A HabitMy Profile

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