God helps those who help themselves.
We have all been told this at one point or the other. Well, today, I’m telling this to myself.
Honestly, these past few days have not really been that great for me. Stress, both physical and mental, has led me to a proverbial cave where all I can see and feel are darkness and anxiety. With M having the motions, I’m terrified that it’ll lead to dehydration. This fear perhaps stems from the fact that my sister had to be admitted to the hospital as an infant for the very same reason. That added to the physical exertion involving taking care of an infant has practically drained me. The stress at work about getting a suitable project seems relentless. And then there is the omnipresent feeling of always being on the run carrying multiple bags through a crowded platform as if to catch a train that I just cannot miss. Everything combined together has resulted in a constant sick feeling from the pit of my stomach that I just can’t seem to get rid of. Maybe, I’m a little depressed, I don’t really know. But what I do know is that I need to pull myself together. Or, like Po, find my inner peace.
Today being the International Day of Peace, it seems even more appropriate that I do this. After all, we cannot bring peace to our surroundings without first being centered individuals ourselves. Right? And interestingly today, I read something that could actually help me in attaining that. While reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric of Redefining Success, I came across this passage which made a lot of sense to me, especially now when I haven’t been in the best of moods.
In our daily lives, moving from struggle to grace requires practice and commitment. But it’s in our hands. I’ve come to believe that living in a state of gratitude is the gateway to grace.
So, gratitude is the key and I’m willing to give it a try, for my sake more than anyone else’s. I have experienced the power of gratitude before in the fall of 2014 when both my parents were having health issues. It was a harrowing time, really. Those were the days when I would often find myself crying in a hospital corner, away from the prying eyes of my loved ones. Even during that phase, I had realised that our own happiness depends on us and gratitude definitely plays a huge part in reaching there. Gratitude was something with which I sought inner peace then and that’s what I wish to attempt today, as impossible as it might seem. In fact, make it a daily activity as well if possible.
The Oxford clinical psychologist Mark Williams suggests the “ten finger gratitude exercise,” in which once a day you list ten things you’re grateful for and count them out in your fingers. Sometimes it won’t be easy. But that’s the point – “intentionally bringing into awareness the tiny, previously unnoticed elements of the day.” – Arianna writes in her book.
In fact, it is not just a theory. She goes on to write.
According to a study by researchers from the Univerity of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day – and why the events made them happy – lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.
Since calm and lower stress levels are what I need, I might as well try this, today and every day going forward. It doesn’t even need any investment except maybe 5 minutes a day. And what better day to start this practice than today which is also World Gratitude Day?
Inner peace, inner peace, inner peace!
So, inner peace, if you are listening, I’m grateful for….
A loving family. I can’t express what they are to me and how they make my life meaningful.
My daughter, who even though a handful, makes me smile at the unlikeliest of times with her unassuming reactions.
My husband and my sister who readily serve as my punching bags. What would I do without them? Who would suffer my tantrums?
My sister living in the same city. I don’t know what I would have done without her near me. Thank God, she got that transfer from Pune.
Blogging. There is nothing that helps me deal with stress better than it does. Writing heals me through blogging which lets me connect with more like minded people.
Books. They offer me an escape, a much needed one, where I don’t have to bother about booking a cab, managing hours at work or changing a diaper.
A comfortable life. Yes, even with the stress, I cannot be blind to the fact that I have a comfortable life.
Food. I don’t know about you but food brings comfort to me. Eating that favourite curry or going to that favourite restaurant makes me feel better. I’m lucky that I can do all of that.
A job. Yes, even though I have a lot of complaints about the policies or the lack of those thereof at work to aid working mothers, I’m still grateful that every morning I have a place to go to. It offers me a release that I need.
M’s creche and the people who take care of her there. I probably don’t say it enough but if not for them, working mothers like me would find it a lot tougher than it already is.
Cabs. Yes, for one who commutes daily with an infant and her heavy bags, cabs are a saving grace. And the best part is most of the drivers are helpful as well.
A comfortable home. Having a place to hide from all that bothers me, a safe and comfortable one at that, what more could I ask for?
Well, looks like I got more than 10 things to be grateful for, which is a good start. Even though I still feel virtually out of breath, It’s still a start. I’m sure repeating this every night will only help me. Well, at least I hope it will.
Tell me, what are the things you are grateful for today?