This article was originally published at SathyaWrites.
I have figured out the easiest way to attain englightenment.
A simple way to be happy. A cooler path to be joyful.
And in fact, a scientific way to create peace.
It is to be grateful.
To be grateful for the experience that life takes me through… To appreciate what has offered you.
But what about when one is going through moment of fear, anxiety – a time full of stress. Robert A. Emmons has an answer.
“It is relatively easy to feel grateful when good things are happening, and life is going the way we want it to. A much greater challenge is to be grateful when things are not going so well, and are not going the way we think they should.”
~ Robert A. Emmons in his book, Thanks!
So, what’s bothering you right now? You get a parking ticket? Lose your job? Relationship not working? Kids being a challenge? Get sick? My personal recommendation? Flip it around and think about all the things for which you’re grateful.
- Get a parking ticket? Be grateful you even have a car. Be grateful you’re going to be able to help pay for someone’s wages for part of the day.
- Stub your toe? Be grateful you HAVE a toe to stub and such a great life that that’s probably the worst thing that’s going to happen to you today.
- Kids being a little challenging? Be grateful they’re healthy enough to make so much noise and honor them for the growth you both experience together.
In fact, in their New York Times best-seller, The Tools, Barry Michels and Phil Stutz takes this to the next level. They recommend to discipline your mind to *always* see the amazing things in your life. They suggest to get your grateful flow flowing. There’s no (!) better way to connect to the Source of all higher forces/joy/love/all-things-good than gratitude.
For me, 2016 was year of success, it was year of failure. It was year to cherish and a year to learn. A lot did happen over the past one year. I am using this post as an opportunity to capture this. I did a similar exercise at the end of 2015.
Because it is the easiest path to joy.
As David Steindl-Rast captures this his TED Talk ‘Want to be Happy? Be Grateful’
“The root of joy is gratefulness… It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted.”
He says ‘Look closely’ and you will find ‘people are happy because they are grateful’. The opposite for being grateful is just taking things for granted.
My goal is simple – to take a moment to reflect, to thank. I want to be happy. I want to one among those who are happy. So, without much further adieu, here are the list of things that happened last year and I am grateful for.
- I had a major career leap this year. I changed job (in August 2016). This meant changing places, plans and lot others. There were many a reasons for the shift, but the most important was to work on my strengths, rather than on my weaknesses. I know that I’m not a people-friendly person, in fact I’m so shy to the point that I fear human interaction, sometimes. I needed a more quieter, less interaction intensive job. The new job seems to fit well.
- We, I and my wife, celebrated our second Wedding Anniversary. With lot of quams that showed up in between, with restlessness from different areas of life, I was indeed not a very calm and easy partner to live with. But things did work out, thanks much to the patience of my wife.
- We celebrated our little girl’s first birthday. Yes, while we invited her into this world in 2015, we had moments to cherish with her during the past 1 year. The little angel brought us, me the family more closer, more lovelier and more entertaining. The cute hands, legs and her ever warm smile doesn’t fail to melt a heart and render happiness. Thank God to make her part of our lives.
- I learnt to let go. This time more strongly and more maturely. I had trouble, but I realised that life does go on and this time I didn’t push life to go on, but it did go on to surprise me. I am feel more grateful than ever before for this wonderful cherishing moment to have me let go of the past, of guilt and regret.
- 2016 got me proud on achieving few key goals. One of the best was in achieving my writing goal to post 100 articles at SathyaWrites.com.
- I learnt to say enough. I have become less ambitious, aiming more for meaning in life than achievement.
- I have joyfully contributed some good money. Though small, it was a contribution to my family and to a social cause. I thank God for the opportunity given to contribute.
- I took a choice to be a more of a follower, as an employee, than being a leader, or a boss or an entrepreneur. I’m going to someday write a post saying ‘Dear Internet! Stop asking me quit my job!’
- I lived a relatively minimal life – there is no cable, internet connections at home. I don’t or more correctly can’t (because my daughter doesn’t allow to) use my laptop at home. Though it sounds puny, but I have mentally prepared or preparing myself to shut myself off about work at home. It’s a big achievement in my life. I am using ‘StayFocusd’ chrome app to allow only 10 minutes of Facebooking per day.
- My obsession for productivity is slowly reducing. I now use something called ‘enough list’ or sometime a ‘no-list‘. Though I do tinker around exploring the two big areas of — productivity and financial independence, I guess in the coming year I will be more fortunate not to be obsessed by it.
I did fail in certain areas. And I’m sure I will use those opportunities as a learning path in the coming year.
Gratitude Exercise 2016
The famed humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow notes
“The most important learning lessons… were tragedies, deaths, and trauma… which forced change in the life-outlook of the person and consequently in everything that he did.”
Whether 2016 was year of success or failure, I recommend you to try the gratitude exercise. Take a moment to record those moments and appreciate for the opportunity to have faced it. More importantly be grateful that you have bestowed with such a blessing in your life.