29 Oct 2014

DAY 30: Celebrate Small Victories; Be Grateful Always


Life is not always about big events. Life’s greatness is not always found in great things. They say the best gifts come in small packages. Some others say the best gifts in life are free- oxygen/air, water, good health, etc. It’s good to always look back and be thankful.

Dr Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California is the world’s leading expert on gratitude and has been researching gratitude for about 10 years now. He says in an article taken from his book "Gratitude Works! A 21-day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity",  “Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. One of the things his studies also show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%.

 His research also shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”

sijinius.comToday’s tip is about appreciating and patting yourself in the back for the times you got something right about your finances, made wise investments, paid yourself regularly and lived by a budget. It is easy to overlook those small victories and want to concentrate on what we are yet to achieve, or worse, our failures- the mountain of debt you still have, the get-rich-quick/wonder bank scheme you put your life savings in and lost, the wrong answer in that interview/exam that cost you the job or first place, the poor family you grew up in, being a Nigerian/having to live in Nigeria, and so on.

Yes, some people see living in Nigeria or being a Nigerian as a curse, yet there are investors and professionals coming into Nigeria to tap into her wealth of opportunities.

Dr Emmons says we need to have an “Attitude of Gratitude”, try these tips on developing and maintaining your attitude of gratitude:

1.       Practice the gratitude exercise: people take for granted the good already present in their lives. The gratitude exercise instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements.

2.       Keep a gratitude journal, an idea made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book "Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude". It entails writing down every day a couple of things, three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night.

3.       Write a gratitude letter to a person in your life who has influenced you positively but whom you have not adequately thanked such as your parents, siblings, a mentor, a primary school teacher, or your childhood best friend. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

As is typical of Nigerians, we complain a lot; there is no light, the government is corrupt, things are hard, my salary is not enough, etc. If you can still make a living, if you can still spend the salary you make, if you are not a slave or in jail, find a reason to look back and be grateful, there is no one without at least one reason to be thankful, at least one.

I wish Nigerians can undertake (especially starting from Facebook) a challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.


If you can still make a living, if you can still spend the salary you make, if you are not a slave or in jail, find a reason to look back and be grateful, there is no one without at least one reason to be thankful, at least one.

Today, I hope I’ve been able to encourage and inspire you to find reasons to look back, celebrate and be more thankful.

I will end by sharing some more picture quotes that reinforce this. And a gratitude infographic by Here's my chance (courtesy Dailygood)


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