So I have spent the last two weeks in Nigeria. That’s where my family is from and it’s also the country I was born in. I haven’t been back in five years but this time going back felt different. It dawned on me just how my life could have been if my mum had not brought me with her to the UK when I was 7.
Being in Nigeria, I saw how everyday poor nigerians live and I felt many emotions and noticed a few things:
First, I felt immense gratitude to my mother for not leaving me behind! She could have and some people actually told her to, but she chose to bring me with her.
Secondly, I was grateful for all the things in my life that I take for granted in the UK like running water, electricity (the electricity problem in Nigeria could have it’s own article) and Wifi!
Thirdly, I noticed a really enterprising spirit. From an early age the children know that they need to hustle to make something of themselves. They learn that there are no handouts and they need to work to be successful. I felt both impressed and sad about that. When I was a child, I wasn’t worrying about making money to pay for my school fees. I knew the UK government and my parents would provide for me. SO that made me grateful again to my parents and the UK government.
Lastly, I was soo grateful for my dad and my extended family. I really felt the love! From kind words spoken to people cooking for us and looking after us with such care! I am so blessed to have you all in my life.
So my post today is about gratitude because I have really felt over the last weeks!
What is Gratitude?
Every language in the world has a way of saying “thank you.” This is because gratitude is an inherent quality that resides within each human being, and is triggered and expressed spontaneously in a variety of different contexts. Gratitude crosses all boundaries—creed, age, vocation, gender, and nation—and is emphasized by all the great religious traditions.
In her book, Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, Angeles Arrien writes: “Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one’s experience.”
She goes on to say: “Gratitude is a feeling that spontaneously emerges from within. However, it is not simply an emotional response; it is also a choice we make. We can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be ungrateful—to take our gifts and blessings for granted. As a choice, gratitude is an attitude or disposition.” Read More.
What are the benefits of being Gratitude?
Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
- Gratitude improves psychological health.
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
- Gratitude improves physical health.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem.
- Gratitude increases mental strength.
Developing “an attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
Read More: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round
How do you practice Gratitude?
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.
One of the ways you can do this by journaling. Writing down at least one thing a day that you are grateful for. This is what I do. I have my greatness journal and I write in that most days (I need to up it to everyday).
Another way which was shared in the film ‘The Secret’, is to have a gratitude rock. This is a small rock that you put in your pocket and anytime you go into your pocket and touch the rock, you think of something to be Grateful for.
What are some things You can be Grateful for?
There are so many thing to be grateful for and you can google search if you need ideas. Here are three of my favorite sites to look at:
- 60 Things to Be Grateful For In Life – This was the very first site I ever found that had a list of things to be grateful for and it’s a site I visit often!
- 100 Things To Be Grateful For
- 200 Things to Be Thankful For
Grateful living is important in the world because in our constant pursuit of more and better we can easily lose sight of the riches that lay right in front of us and within us.
A Final Thought
As I grew up, I begin to appreciate things around me more. From experiencing two different countries, I realised all the things I’d been given are not rights, but privileges. I realise that the world is so beautiful, and we’re lucky to live in such an amazing world.
I have learned that being literate is a not a right, but a gift.
There are people living in war zones (like Syria or Sudan), fighting to stay alive and I live in a relatively peaceful country where I am free to be me and to disagree with the government. In so many other countries (like North Korea) in this world, I could be put to jail for disagreeing with the government.
I am so grateful that I have all my five senses as there are people in this world that don’t.
No matter your circumstances, you can always find something to be grateful for and that doesn’t just shift your mood. It shifts the atmosphere.