DAY SIXTEEN: The 22 Gifts Of Gratitude
So most of us know everything mentioned in the Qur’an is absolutely 100% ‘beyond-the-shadow-of-the-doubt’ true, right?
It doesn’t change the fact there’s a lot of fuzzy ambiguity in our heads concerning a number of verses, since you know, we’re not scholars or experts in ‘Fiqh’(Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) and “Tafseer’(Exegesis). Which are two very difficult fields of study if you’d like to know.
I for one read the Holy Qur’an and sometimes get a bit anxious or angry at myself for not understanding some of it. It’s frustrating! Like when was this part revealed? What was Allah referring to here? What does this word mean? Like oh, this verse sounds harsh. Why would Allah say that when He’s the Most Merciful?
The curious lot will frantically search through YouTube videos for explanations, and stumble upon (or actually deliberately hand pick) Nouman Ali Khan’s lectures, especially the ones keeping us on our toes for that ‘Aha moment’ he’s so good at delivering!
Some of us will get their answers and go back to reading Qur’an, while others will binge online, until 5 hours later they catch themselves researching the ‘101 Uses of Baking Soda’ (true story by the way loool).
Anyways, so I was reading this beautiful verse….
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (Holy Qur’an 14:7)
And suddenly my eyebrows jumped above my forehead. Oh I was intrigued! How does simple gratitude amplify our blessings and gifts?
I mean how can thanking Allah silently in your mind or sending ‘thank you’ notes to people you’re grateful to, actually have a physically or even an emotionally positive effect on your life?
Will you find extra money in your purse the next day?
Will you suddenly wake up with an ‘updated’ sense of a humor?
Is it maybe symbolic for an increase in status in the Hereafter?
What exactly happens? What ARE the ‘increased’ gains of gratitude?
Okay guys listen.
I know most of us like to be informed, but we need to work like one team.
We need to have each others’ backs.
No one is allowed to wander off online to research the answers alone, because who knows when they’ll be back or what they’ll end up binging on? It’s too dangerous of a risk and the clock is ticking. We’re sticking together, okay?
We can do this! We can focus, brain storm, search Tafseer books and support each other as one independent family. Together ANYTHING is possible!
Anyone got Ustadth Nouman’s phone number?
No? Okay loool
Here we go…
Benefits Of Gratitude:
- 1- Actual Real-Time Happiness:
Most people think accumulating more wealth is what makes us happy, but then why are so many rich people on antidepressants?
According to the ‘Hedonic Treadmill’ Effect, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise as well, which results in no permanent gain in happiness!
Reminding our selves of our blessings everyday by thanking God for them has been proven to increase long-term well being by more than 10% since it renews the excitement and joy. (Makes sense)
Health Benefits Of Gratitude
- 2- Gratitude improves the quality of your sleep
- 3- Improves overall health, reduces pain and decreases likelihood of developing mental disorders
- 4- Gratitude extends your lifespan
- 5- There’s a very strong correlation between vitality and gratitude, which means being grateful actually increases your energy levels.
- 6- You’re more likely to use that gym subscription or just workout more often when you develop an attitude of gratitude, which in turn makes you healthier.
What? Sounds far-fetched?
Well the proof is in the pudding. I mean in the scientific research done by Harvard Medical School See? HARVARD! So we know it’s completely reliable!
Emotional Benefits Of Gratitude:
- 7- Gratitude makes you less ‘jelly’.
(That’s my lame attempt to sound cool by saying jelly instead of jealous, like how they talk in Teen movies. I can’t pull it off though, can I? loool)
- 8- Gratitude increases your resilience. It helps you cope with rough situations and bounce right back up.
- 9- Since the positive nature of gratitude is the opposite of the negativity that comes with stress, gratitude is proven to be one of the best methods for relaxation.
- 10- It gives you back a beautiful past because when you’re always thankful and focused on the positive aspects of life, you’ll only make good memories. (Kind of like selective Alzheimer’s but you know, nicer lool)
- 11- Gratitude makes you more optimistic. A brain trained to appreciate the good, will always see the good and expect the good to come.
- 12- Showing gratefulness for what we have, and thanking others for it, makes us more empathetic, humble and less self-centered.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “He has not thanked Allah who has not thanked people” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
And you know what this encouragement has led to? BETTER RELATIONSHIPS!
- 13- Gratitude helps you make more friends (because the biggest need for humankind is……? Oh come on, we’ve said it like a million times loool. Yes, exactly, the biggest human need is appreciation)
- 14- And when people feel appreciated they’ll do more, which obviously leads to better marriages and relationships in general. Seriously guys, a simple ‘thank you’ goes a loooooooooonggggggggggggg way!
- 15- Most successful people, Valedictorians, celebrities or anyone who’s ever won an important award; they all start their speeches by thanking others. You know why? Because it makes them look good! It makes them honorable and loved and looked up to, when they give credit to others and acknowledge their efforts. It’s like the most charming thing yet! (So yes, to answer your question, an attitude of gratitude will make you charming too, don’t worry)
Mental Benefits Of Gratitude:
- 16- Negativity takes a toll on the brain. It keeps it busy worrying, blaming, nitpicking, whining… the list goes on. But when you’re grateful, your brain is at full capacity to work on full speed. It makes sense to say gratitude increases productivity.
- 17- Likewise, gratitude rewires the brain into thinking anything is possible, which is the main reason why grateful people are better at achieving their goals.
- 18- It’s a package really, because grateful people obviously have strong faith in Allah. Even during the worst of times, they’re still able to focus on the good, which helps them make good decisions. Nothing can wreck your judgment and choices like being overwhelmed with hopelessness.
Spiritual Benefits Of Gratitude
- 19- Gratitude is probably another word for ‘Mindfulness’. When you live ‘the now’, and enjoy every sip of water, or relish the feeling of resting your head on a fluffy pillow after a long day, without being sad about the past or worrying about the future, just appreciating the present moment, that’s the true essence of joy.
- 20- It gives us much needed ‘spiritual fuel’ to deal with our problems. Just saying ‘Thank God it could have been worse’ has enough motivational power to keep you going.
- 21- It makes you more generous, for when you’re truly grateful to Allah, you’d want to prove it with more than words. In my country, whenever someone has a baby, moves to a new house, gets married, goes to Hajj, graduates, gets a huge promotion, starts a business, pulls through a major surgery, survives an accident or even buys a new car, they MUST feed the poor. I never understood why we had to kill innocent sheep every time we’re happy, but now I kind of do. Sharing the joy with Allah’s needy salves is a form of gratitude.
- 22- Gratitude increases one’s faith, because it eliminates the ‘random’ element. One of the most touching scenes ever is seeing a Muslim football player prostrating to Allah gratefully and making sujoud in the middle of the soccer field right after scoring a goal. They know it’s Allah who gave them the skill to play so good. It’s humble and beautiful and ‘oh-so-real’. Gratitude to the Lord sets us straight. It increases our awareness that everything good in this life is from Allah and Allah alone. It’s not random like whatsoever. It’s actually a personalized gift, and out of the billions of people on this planet, it has YOUR name on it.
There’s no beginner or advanced level today. I’m too shy to interfere with such an intimate, private relationship between you and your Lord. So thank Him, the best way you know how…
Thank Him in a way that suits His Magnificence, Perfection, Excellence and Glory…
(Yeah, good luck with that loool)
Oh and while we’re at it…
Can I say…
I’m just completely overwhelmed with all the amazing comments, emails and feedback I’ve gotten in this blessed month. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve such love and praise.
Thank you Allah for handpicking the most incredible, kind-hearted readers on Earth to read this blog.
And thank you all for your time and your beautiful smiles…
I wish you could see what’s inside my heart coz I have no earthly idea how to express it…I’m just truly, truly grateful…
Thank you so much…
Lilly S. Mohsen