"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." - G. K. Chesterton
Today was our first webinar for more Vietnam Wellbeing, an initiative I started to make our conversations around our mental, emotional, and physical health part of life, i.e. breaking a "taboo" in our Vietnamese culture. While 15 people have registered, only 3 people managed to join. The Judge in me quickly thought "too bad it is a low number", but having practiced mindfulness over the last days and reflecting on purpose than outcome, I could return to the present moment with those precious participants who had decided to give us one hour of their time.
Already days ago, I have tried a new routine in that I, as soon as I woke up, list three things that I can be grateful for. I observed that it often came down to the following basic, but main things in my life right now - spend time with my family, having food and a roof over my head, and having a healthy and strong body. Because these are not necessarily things that are heavily celebrated in society by others or maybe because they repeat themselves every day and are soon taken for granted, I didn`t feel much of an excited feeling as I would have if, for example, I would suddenly get a voucher for a presidential suite in a five-star hotel in Dubai (in a Corona-free world).
I haven`t thought or judged myself too much about it, as I was also happy that I at least was genuinely grateful for these three things. During our webinar today, when we opened the conversation for others to share their experiences with mental health or low mood, one participant openly shared that she hates her job and sometimes it is very stressful, boring, and annoying. But then she would remind herself that other people were even more worse off, suffering from no food, no roof, or no health, that being grateful for her life helps shift her negative perspective.
When I listened to her, I felt a shift in me, for many reasons. The participant showcased to me how thinking of others instead of being so focussed on herself helped her see things differently. She also demonstrated how gratitude has worked for her, having read about it so many times myself that it even gets annoying to read another advice on gratitude. It made me think back of my own painful moments and whether I just didn`t succeed counting my blessings in those moments. But instead of judging myself for it (and sometimes life can really throw you overwhelming challenges), I just happily took this as an invitation to use gratitude more consciously in my life.
Gratitude helps us see the light within our tunnel, see the blessings, even if unrelated, on our worst days. Gratitude may not shift our entire low mood, but every positive, soothing, and affirmative thought can help us relieve our pain (s. also the great book "Letting Go" by David R. Hawkins), even if we don`t feel like it. I also trust that gratitude attracts more what we can be grateful for, but most of all, it helps train our focus on where we want to automatically pay attention to. Is it always on the next problem or is it on the many, many, many (and I really mean many!) blessings that are already in our life.
For example, I may not have met my husband yet or currently have my dream body, but I am grateful that I am able to be with my family in these isolating times. I am grateful for the many delicioss Vietnamese dishes we eat together. I am grateful for our spacious house that gives each of us in our family space, esp. during lockdown. I am grateful for the Internet that connects us all and also offers us opportunities to learn, grow, and entertain during lockdown. I am grateful for the time I can write my blog for you. I am grateful for Wix, a low-cost webhosting platform, that is easy to use and gives me all functionalities I need to connect with you. I am grateful for all the 3-5 participants who have joined us for our Tet Wellbeing, the group size and the participants were perfect. I am grateful for the portfolio collective community that gives me a feeling of being surrounded by like-minded, passionate people. I am grateful for my clothes that keep me warm, protected, and comfortable. I am grateful for my jewelleries because they bring a smile on my face. I am grateful for a relaxing weekend with many learnings, inspirations, and experiences, that were different from yesterday.
Start counting your blessings - even if you don`t feel like it. You can start small and, for example, name just one thing. Over time you can increase your list how it feels right to you, and feel welcome to appreciate the present moment as it happens, see the opportunity in difficult moments, express your gratitude with others if your heart wants to (and your head may think it is "unncessary"). Sharing love and gratitude are never too much! :)
Are you practicing gratitude throughout your day? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! :)PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletterto stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Thich Nhat Hanh - Peace is Every Step
Reflection: What am I grateful for in my life?
Intention: I list 3 things I am grateful for, every morning to start the day and every evening before I go to sleep.