The year is 2021. You’ve already spent a whole year trying to make Dalgona coffee, catch up on Netflix shows, fulfill your fitness goals, and obsessing about being productive during a global pandemic, but now, inevitably, you’re exhausted. The world is on the verge of closing down again, death tolls have risen up, people are more divided and hateful than ever, assignments are piling up, and chances of restoring to what normalcy was 2 years ago seems very bleak. The news is full of all kinds of terrible news, your closest friend lives miles away, and you can’t indulge in retail therapy to feel better about yourself. The times are dark and miserable, and to advise anyone to hold onto the good things in life and actively express gratitude towards what life has provided us with , might seem like a bad idea, but really, it’s all anyone of us could do to preserve what little sanity is left in us right now.

Gratitude is like a warm, homely hug that slowly engulfs us with genuine appreciation and thankfulness for the life we lead and the people and experiences that make it worthwhile. Gratitude is not just about verbal affirmations and expressing our feelings once in a while, but it includes a sense of humility and gratefulness and  reminds us to be mindful of all the opportunities and support that makes our gray days disappear and pack in meaning to our colorful ones.

It is obviously easier said than done to find things to be grateful for, given the current scenarios, but when we are mindful and put in efforts, we realize that the most ordinary experiences could fill us with immense gratitude and there will always be something in life to feel grateful about. Sometimes gratitude can be experienced in the most obvious places, in parents, guardians, role models, friends, teachers, and the nature that provides us in abundance but most of the times, gratitude can be found hidden in the art forms we love, the privileges we’re ignorant about, the mere ability to exist and experience this life, the front line workers and small businesses that currently run the world, the gatekeeper who always helps you with holding groceries, strangers who hold the lift for us and people who greet us with a smile without a reason.  Even our worst times can help remind us of when we took our good days for granted and make us feel grateful for that experience. 

Gratitude might seem like a futile exercise deemed fit only for the overly optimistic, but it helps lead a happier and stress free life, with good interpersonal relationships. Psychology researches have found that actively expressing gratitude leads to a greater self esteem and confidence, ability to maintain fulfilling relations, more general contentment and a calmer and more optimistic outlook. Gratitude helps us in controlling our negative thought processes and encourage feeling positive emotions. The good thing about gratitude is that the more we experience it, the more it spreads and eventually we realize how much we truly have to be thankful for. It might appear impossible to find things to be grateful for, but it is at those times when we need gratitude the most. Even in cases of generalized anxiety and depressive disorders where our mind works against itself to tell us we are all alone and that people dislike us, gratitude makes us trust people and realize how much they do for us. It helps us to fight and win the battles against our own thoughts. 

It becomes easier to overcome obstacles when we have a positive outlook and believe that we have the support and resources one needs to win in life. Gratitude makes us realize the true value of people and experiences in our lives, and pulls us out of difficult times. I guess I could even say that in the end, it’s all about gratitude!

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