The Remarkable Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude: a conscious state of thankfulness and appreciation.
Life has a way of throwing us curve balls that don’t even seem to make sense sometimes. Misfortune hits us unexpectedly; always when we are minding our own business. One day we are enjoying a piece of simmering “sus” (gossip) with friends over coffee, and the next day we are ducking diseases like it’s an Olympic sport. When life gets overwhelming, it is too easy to wallow in our self pity and ask, why me?
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and although it is not a traditional Jamaican holiday, many of our members of the diaspora have adopted American holidays during their time abroad. We might not regard the historical importance of Thanksgiving in American society, but the spirit of Thankfulness is in the air. This Thanksgiving season, keep gratitude at the forefront of your mind and experience these remarkable benefits.
Mental Self Care
In this digital age of social media, we are inundated with images and videos of seemingly perfect lives. This does not benefit us psychologically, and studies have shown that social media usage is linked to depression and poor self image. Our favourite influencers have mastered the art of skillfully curating their lives so that they can be the subject of envy. Comparison is the thief of joy, but gratitude is the gift that never stops giving. The next time you feel that familiar tinge of bad mind, just think of five things that you are grateful for.
We all wish our bodies looked “better” than how they are. We want to be smaller, or thicker, have longer legs, longer hair, better eyesight, perfect features,etc. But when we really stop and think about all that our bodies do for us on a daily basis, we will be overcome with gratitude. Our legs take us to and from destinations, our hands perform tasks that generate income, our eyes allow us to see the world around us. The next time you find yourself saying “I wish this part of my body was better”, instead just say “thank you”.
Path to Forgiveness
Think about those who have wronged you. The neighbour who backed into your garbage pan with their car, or that taxi driver that cut you off in a most vicious and neanderthalic way. Do you feel your blood coming to a simmer, just about to boil? Now think of a time when you did the same to someone else. Maybe you caused another driver’s life to flash before their eyes when you attempted an illegal U-turn. Or maybe you picked all the good mangoes off your neighbour’s tree, even though it wasn’t leaning over into your yard as you claimed it was.
Our favourite prayer goes, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.”
We cannot expect grace to be given to us if we are not willing to extend it to others. Nobody is perfect as we have all wronged someone in some way, intentionally or unwittingly. Be thankful that you have been given grace in the past, and forgive those that have wronged you.
Gratitude opens the door for positivity to flow into your life. Fill your heart with thankfulness and don’t sweat the small stuff.