With unsettled circumstances comes uncertainty, anxiety and, many times, a downward spiral of negative thoughts. It’s easy to allow recent events to cloud judgement, affect mood and reign master over your happiness. But one of the biggest lessons in Islam is to appreciate the good in life, always. To be positive, to be abundant, to be grateful.
How many times do you find yourself complaining about a minor inconvenience? Or moving your focus from one worry to the next? What about the uncertainty of time or the future? Let’s spin the question. How many times do you find yourself appreciating the goodness of your life? How rich and full it is? The little things in your life that make it more enjoyable?
The human mind is a funny old thing.
We’re naturally wired to give more thought and remembrance to negative thoughts, interactions and experiences - purely because they stand out to us more. But once we realise the power of our thoughts and make conscious efforts to retrain our brains to think positively, we learn to be aware and appreciative of the good and adapt to see the world in a different light.
Essentially, thankfulness is a powerful tool to deal with life’s many struggles. But not only this, gratitude is a form of worship; to be grateful to the Creator for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. To understand the magnanimity of gratitude, think about how the opening Surah of the Quran, Surah Al-Fatihah, starts with the word Alhamdulillah.
All praise is for Allah.
Here are a few gratitude exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Spend a few minutes thinking of the things you are grateful for, regardless of how small they may be. This could be after prayers, in the mornings or before bed.
- Actively stop yourself when you find yourself complaining or judging - reframe the situation to see the positives.
- Linger on thoughts of positive moments throughout the day.
- Learn to say thank you often, to yourself and to others.
Practicing gratitude is an active and constant process. It’s also a lifestyle, a choice to be made each day. Feeling thankfulness in the heart, acknowledging it deeply and uttering gratitude for the bounties of this world. What will you choose to focus on - the uncertainty or the blessings?
“Why should God make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him? God always rewards gratitude and He knows everything”.