I warmly welcome everyone into this fresh start/New year. Interestingly, it is just another day/month just as every other. Beyond the euphoria, nothing is different, nothing changes. It’s a mere social construction- another day (January 1st) on the calendar. You’re free to be excited just as I am.
If you do follow my podcast (Metamorphosis with Tobi), you will be aware of our last episode for the year 2020 titled “Gratitude 2020” where we did listen to different individuals’ gratitude statements for the year. Still in that light, our first post on here will focus on Gratitude.
Based on all the happenings in 2020, I can certainly say that the one constant thing to be grateful for is Life. For me, that remains the only constant thing and the motivating spirit for the year 2021.
I would like you to pause and think for a few seconds about what Gratitude is in your own perspective (I am watching). For me, Gratitude is both an affirmation and acknowledgment of any kind or good act that you receive. It is a feeling that erupts from within you and most importantly, it a conscious Choice.
Marelisa Fabrega, the author of How to Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List maintains that “it means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.” Psychological and behavioral research show that gratitude plays an important role on our mental health. Without doubt, being grateful/the act of thanksgiving make people more happy-it leaves you in a happy state and this invariably plays on your mental health. It improves interpersonal relationships. In their research, Wood et al. conclude that “gratitude is related to a variety of clinically relevant phenomena, including psychopathology (particularly depression), adaptive personality characteristics, positive social relationships, and physical health (particularly stress and sleep). ”(1) In addition, Dr. Emmons a gratitude researcher showed in one of his studies that people who exhibit gratitude are predisposed to being more creative, resilient (bounce back more from harsh experiences and adversity) and enjoy better social relationships. For him, “to say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”(2)
How then do I remain constantly grateful this year and really make gratitude a personal journey?
- Gratitude journal: Keeping a gratitude journal can serve as a daily remembrance of benefits, goodness, and all.
- Visual reminder: It is noteworthy that forgetfulness and lack of awareness are two factors that limit our show of gratitude. Therefore, having things to visually remind you will do.
- Bad Situations: Always remember the bad and ugly situations as they strengthen your consciousness of the beautiful ones. For instance, when you remember how difficult life used to be, you would come to better understand the benefits you now enjoy.
- Practice and be Intentional about showing gratitude via different creative means. You could drop a note of thanks randomly and just appreciate people for their impact on your life.
Once you become intentional about being grateful even for the small things, you will notice that you begin to find joy and happiness easily. The little things you used to take for granted will have meaning to you. There is a popular Yoruba saying translated into English “when a child is grateful for yesterday’s kindness, he is open to receive yet another.” I agree with that, but I would advise to live beyond being grateful in order to receive more, but because gratitude has now become a lifestyle for you. You will unconsciously become one to always see beauty even in ugly situation.
- Pledge: I choose today to live a life full of Gratitude-I am gratitude personified.
 Wood, A. M., et al., Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration, Clinical Psychology Review (2010), doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005