A thankful heart is a space for big wins


Post-Thanksgiving, stuck in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, how will you be spending this weekend. Joining the masses to spend your hard-earned Naira and kobo contributing to the global £10.1bn total, according to Global Data research, set to be spent over the so-called Black Friday period this year, or perhaps partaking in a more fitting pastime such as counting your blessings and seeking gratitude.

As a natural born glass-half-empty sort of girl, I never gave much thought to thanksgiving for most of my childhood, adolescence or even early adult years. It has been in the last decade that I have been consciously seeking them out and counting blessings not once, sometimes not twice, but as often as I can. In this regard, I have come to view Thanksgiving in the same vein as Black History Month or Women’s Day – why just dedicate a finite period of time for something you should be celebrating infinitely?

Of course, the recently converted-thanks-giver in me is quick to understand those who find it more of a challenge to identify and appreciate the things they are thankful for, and for this very reason, I come prepared today with a little introduction to the art of gratitude. There are hundreds f little conscious acts you can perform daily to get into the habit of thankfulness so much so that once it becomes a habit you are no longer conscious of these little acts. Try it, challenge yourself, and like me, you may discover a whole new, much brighter world of thankful living.

Give thanks to the new day – As new age and airy fairy as it may sound, give thanks to a new day dawning and that you are ready to take it on and make it your best yet. Remember the quote, “What if you woke up today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday?” A roof over your head? Check. Change in your pocket? Check. Food in your belly? Check. A family, a partner, a child? Check. There are so many things in life we take for granted that some people wish for all their lives.

Be present – Be present in the moment to appreciate all that you encounter. In the mad rush that is life we forget to look up at the sky, admire the sunset, feel the breeze on our face. These simple acts of nature go a long way in grounding us and reminding us of how small a speck we are in the whole universe and how insignificant some of our daily worries are. When you are present in the moment, it is also easier to say a little thank you for the sunshine that warms your face, or the shade that cools your head.

Don’t take your body for granted – It is the little things that make a difference. As cliché as the quote “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” is, we often give thanks to our faculties and abilities only when we see those lacking in them. On a recent trip, sitting by the Atlantic Ocean at sunset, in a rare moment of calm I closed my eyes and said a prayer for the feet that took me there, the eyes that can take in God’s glory, the pulse that quickens at its sight, the hands that can capture it in writing or photography. Simple, and yet so powerful.

Keep a gratitude journal – Cheesy or not, keeping a journal of gratitude and writing down every little and big thing you are grateful for will go a long way in helping you establish gratitude as a way of life. My first awakening must have been the spring of 2014 when I began the social media challenge #100DaysofHappy where I had to intentionally, meticulously and consciously chronicle moments of happiness for 100 consecutive days – even while on my hospital bed following invasive surgery. Sitting awake in a hospital bed at 3am post-surgery if you can be thankful for the mere function of breathing, there is always something to be thankful for.

Go to bed with a peaceful heart – Lack of peace steals away your gratitude. Every night before you go to sleep make peace with your day, what you’ve failed at and what you have accomplished, the battles you’ve won and those you’ve left for another day, take account of all the good things that happened. The sandwich your partner had prepared for your lunch the night before, the bus that arrived on time, the colleague who helped you out, the friend who gave you a compliment. These are the little wins. If you don’t make space for them in your heart and usher them in with gratitude, how will you make room for the big wins?

Now go join the global Black Friday race and dash your hard-earned Naira and kobo, but not without saying a little thank you at the check-out.



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