How I Made Gratefulness a Habit

Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author based on her personal experiences. This article is in no way meant to substitute for medical or mental health advice from a trained and educated mental health professional. Muslim Girl encourages those who need help to seek it, and encourages the use of resources such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and trained mental health professionals. You should never try to manage your mental health alone. You are not alone, and there is no shame in seeking professional help. Muslim Girl also does not recommend self-diagnosis; again, please seek the help of a professional. The following are the views and experiences of the author only.

In today’s world, we often focus on the materialistic things that we don’t have. From unrealistic body standards, to what’s happening with our latest obsessions on social media. With so much negativity, it is slowly becoming increasingly difficult to practice gratitude on a daily basis, despite the fact that as Muslims, gratefulness should be at the core of our faith. We are blessed with so much happiness by Allah, and sometimes, we just need to adopt some mindfulness tactics to remind ourselves of the good! On top of that, studies have actually shown that the art of practicing gratitude and gratefulness have scientifically proven benefits for our health and our relationships. 

So, as life gets more complicated, here are five methods I use as often as I can to make gratefulness a habit in my daily life:  

1. Prayer 

Personally, whenever I’m feeling down or sad, it tends to be because my spiritual relationship with Allah isn’t at its strongest. By taking extra care with my wudu and spending longer in my prayer to reflect on my thoughts and actions, I’m able to put life into perspective. I try to remember that this life is only a short test, and that I have been blessed with so much. From my perspective, it would be silly not be grateful for all the amazing things that I do have! 

2. Journalling

This is one of my favourite things to do. I have kept around five journals in the past five years! It’s one of the most effective ways to blurt out everything in your mind and really sort through your emotions. Reading back what you’ve written from days, months, or even years ago can help practice gratitude as you have the opportunity to recall the stresses you had when you were 13, which now seem like nothing! Journalling is a marvelous way to develop the mindfulness needed to follow that old adage, “If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes stressing over it!” 

3. The Post-It Method 

This is something that I used to do, but have stopped in recent days. Still, it’s definitely something that I will get back into the habit of doing. Every morning, write down three things you are grateful for, and stick it on a post-it note somewhere you will see it all day. Whilst this isn’t the most paper-conserving method, I’ve found that it’s perfect for a short-term gratitude fix. 

4. Family and Friends 

Spending time with my family and friends on days where it seems there isn’t much hope in the world not only brightens my entire mood, but allows me to talk through what I’m feeling, and see the rainbow within the storm. I’d highly recommend it! 

5. Charity 

Volunteering your time or donating small sums of money are acts that are not just essential as Muslims, but as humans. To offer some help to those less fortunate than ourselves, to offer them some of that which Allah (SWT) has blessed us with is, in my honest opinion, one of the purest ways to show gratitude.