The piece of 7*12 post-it lay stuck to the legal sized note book, which stood neatly in the wire step file organizer on my desk. Its position meant that it was within clear view. On it was written a brief note. From time to time throughout the day, or whenever I reached for the notebook my eyes skimmed over the note. The days went by but I could not bring myself to throw it out. Two weeks passed, yet the note remained in its place. Finally, one afternoon in week three, I took it from its place and tucked it neatly into my handbag. When I got home, I stuck it between the pages of my journal.
In my last post Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude, I talked about gratitude journaling and gave several scriptural references which support a gratitude practice. I also briefly mentioned some benefits of gratitude.
Since writing that post, gratitude has been a topic of discussion in my conversations with friends and the latest book I am reading has an entire chapter dedicated to gratitude. I therefore felt impressed to share with you my readers, more on gratitude, its benefits and relationship to happiness.
The information I will share with you is based on the writing of Alex Korb in his book, The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.
Alex Korb explains that gratitude is a state of mind. “there’s a gratitude circuit in your brain, badly in need of a workout”, he says. Similarly, I believe that happiness is a state of mind. We often tend to think that we will be happy when our circumstances change, or when we reach that big goal or attain the next accomplishment or when our spouse acts the way we want them to or when our children begin to behave. Yes, any of these things can affect our emotional state, but do they truly make us happy? I think not. Happiness is a state of mind and I believe it is also closely linked to gratitude. I recommend this article which also expresses that view as well as shares 8 tips for achieving happiness.
The young girl tugged at her mother’s dress as they stood among the gigantic crowd of people. Influenced by the tension and anxiety of the adults around her, she asked, “mama, what are we going to do? Mama, are we going to die?”, she asked again as she tugged a little harder.
Days before, mother left the only home her children ever knew. Life had been difficult but at least they had food and shelter. They had been walking day and night for days. Now here they were, a great army behind them and the vast ocean in front of them. Her daughter’s question pierced her soul. Were they going to die, she thought. Did she lead her children to their deaths? Before she could respond to her daughter, the waters miraculously rolled away to either side, revealing dry ground. Hurriedly they walk over to the other side.
On the other side one of the women in the exodus breaks out in a song of praise and thanksgiving to God. A sure demonstration of an attitude of gratitude.