One thing that is deeply rooted in the Filipino culture is our expression of gratitude – pasasalamat. We are grateful, even with the tiniest bit of kindness, of kagandahang loob, shown our way. And it reminds us of the beauty of living and teaches us the importance of acknowledging the small things. But do not reserve gratitude only for the good times.
I know. Life isn’t always about rainbows and happiness. And you’re probably thinking that it would’ve been nice if life is. To be honest, I’ve had the same thoughts. But you know what? I’ve come to know that the ‘negatives’ spurred the ‘positives’ in my life. And I thought, “You know what, ‘what was’ made today ‘what is’.”
Not through rose-tinted glasses
Some of you might think what a lunatic I must be for saying that, especially now that the fears the pandemic has brought hang in the air like a thick cloud of darkness. We acknowledge that the COVID-19 has impacted a lot of, if not all, lives around the globe. We know these impacts are not evenly distributed. That we’re sailing through the same storm in different boats.
We’ve all been there. Even my family struggled too. I just want to put it out there, practicing gratitude isn’t to say that we are turning away from the impacts brought upon us by the pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong. We fully recognize the gravity of the situation. We’re not saying that gratitude will come easily or naturally either, instead, we’re just putting emphasis on the power of gratitude to help us cut through the chaos.
Wellness through gratitude
It is clear that we cannot do anything about the current situation at hand. But what we can do is to change the way we perceive things – focus our energies on controlling what we can control.
Thinking about what we are grateful for settles our physiological stress response. When we recognize the goodness of life, when we focus on and appreciate what brings us joy, it helps us enhance our well-being.
Making a habit of purposefully noticing things we’re grateful for meant that spontaneous moments of genuine gratitude popped up. From that habit grows a lifestyle of living with a thankful heart.
Put it in practice
- Make gratitude a daily habit.
Three things. Every day, allow yourself a few minutes to think of just three things you’re thankful for, and loudly say it. It doesn’t matter at what time you do it nor will it matter how small these things are. What’s important is you build a habit of thankfulness to help you increase your self-esteem, mental strength, and positive social behavior. Preparing you for the bumps you’ll meet along your life’s journey.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
Writing down what you’re thankful for allows you to look back at it on times when you find it hard to do so. Somehow, keeping a memento, a physical reminder of your gratitude, inspires you to have a mindful awareness to on doing it while improving your emotional and mental wellness.
- Extend the gratitude.
Practicing gratitude helps us not only to appreciate gifts or kindness given our way, but also to repay them. As we see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by others, we find it in ourselves to do the same. That’s the beauty of gratitude.
More than allowing yourself to see the beauty in your own life, it makes you acknowledge the moral necessity of helping others do the same.
Glimpse of the big picture
Sometimes, we become so overwhelmed that we tend to look past the things that helped us make it through the day, through life. We tend to focus on our grief, on our pain, and even though we acknowledge the importance of that to reach catharsis, we also have to remember that we are here.
Think of the worst moments you’ve experienced, and look at where you are now. You must remember not just the negative experiences but bring with you as well the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
Gratitude remains as a reminder that we won’t remain trapped in what felt like our worst. Look at you now – you’re here, you’ve conquered.
What are the things you’re grateful for today?
Joma is an enthusiastic public-speaker and a passionate story-teller. Armed with a pen, her wild ideas, and zest for the unseen, she goes far and wide to sew words and unearth stories. Beyond what she loves, you'll find her snuggled in between silent giggles, engrossed with rom-coms and sweet delights.