If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “thank you”, that would suffice.
One of the most inspiring conversations that I have ever had in my life was whilst I was working in Afghanistan as a consultant with the United Nations.
Having travelled quite extensively with the UN I was especially curious about visiting Afghanistan. Watching the news and hearing so many stories filled me with some trepidation, and as the military plane flew down over the breathtakingly beautiful snow-peaked mountains surrounding Kabul, I had been full of anticipation.
I am not sure that anything could have prepared me for what I was about to encounter, and as my armoured vehicle transported me to my accommodation, I tried to absorb the sights along the way. On arrival at my “guest house”, which was heavily guarded and surrounded by barbed wire and sand bags, I was somewhat in awe.
Despite the underlying tension, the obvious poverty, the guns, the guards and the grime, the one thing that was most apparent to me was the raw beauty of the country and, most of all, the people. The strength and generosity of spirit was almost palpable. Every moment I stayed in Kabul was an education. Every person I spoke to held a fascinating story and I spent my time enthralled by a cast of extraordinary individuals.
The conversation that resonated with me most of all, however, occurred when I was speaking with one of the delegates in my group. He was a mullah – a Muslim man educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. He had been working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for some years. I was in the middle of writing a book about gratitude and the impact it had on people’s resilience and wellbeing. As you can probably imagine, the situation and circumstances in Afghanistan is incredibly challenging so I was eager to hear his perspective. This was his response…
“Being happy in life isn’t so complicated. I have come to appreciate that as long as you have something in your life to love, a purpose and something to hope for, then you will always have something to be grateful for.”
As he spoke the glow in his eyes had spoken volumes.
Right now we are experiencing a situation that is very challenging and there is a great deal of turbulence and uncertainty about which can promote fear and anxiety. It is however so important to remind ourselves every day of our lives there will be things that we can be grateful for.
Gratitude and being thankful is an almost universal concept amongst cultures throughout the world. In fact, nearly all of the world’s spiritual traditions emphasise the importance of giving thanks.
Feeling grateful has a number of other benefits, too. Feelings of gratitude are associated with less frequent negative emotions and can promote more positive emotions, such as feeling energised, alert, and enthusiastic. You can even experience pleasant muscle relaxation when recalling situations in which you were grateful. It is apparent that the act of giving thanks can have a remarkable impact on our overall wellbeing, and the best thing is that we can tap into this amazing resource any time we like and it’s free!
An appreciative mind-set can have a very powerful effect on the way we perceive our reality and ultimately, the way we deal with even the most challenging and difficult situations. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, we can seek out and attract more positive things into our life to be grateful for.
So taking time to focus on gratitude and take a daily dose of vitamin G (vitamin gratitude) will give you a well-needed boost!
Why not take the time right now to ask yourself the following 3 questions
- Who in my life right now am I most grateful for and why?
- What am I planning to do today that I am grateful for?
- What am I looking forward to doing in the future that I know I will enjoy and be grateful for?
A poem about gratitude
Before I close my eyes each night, at the end of every day. There is something very important, that I always like to say
Thank you for the things I’ve learnt, they teach me how to know
Thank you for my challenges, they show me how to grow
Thank you for the good times and thank you for the bad
It helps me to appreciate what I have and haven’t had
Thank you for my family and thank you for each friend
You are so very special and all that matters in the end
Thank you for my experiences and thank you for my past
For the magic of the memories through my lifetime that will last
Thank you for my journey and the dreams I’m going to live
Thank you for my future and for the best I’ve yet to give
So before I close my eyes each night what I really want to say
Is thank you for my life and thank you for today.
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