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Gratitude is a Choice

Updated: Sep 21, 2023


A little detour led me to this..


A few days ago, while on my way back home from a meeting, I took a little detour and paid a visit to the mother of my childhood friend. She lives alone in India with both her children living in the US.


I had called on her after 4 years and was expecting a barrage of complaints against me, but to my surprise and on the contrary, she welcomed me as if she had met her long lost daughter!


The 1.5 hours that I spent with her had its touches of divinity within it. What I could see in her was a deep sense of gratitude for life and for everything that supports it.

She was full of stories of how she had had strangers coming over and helping her when she was stuck in adverse situations alone and how deeply grateful she was for all of them and even the situations themselves.


With a beaming warm smile she made hot Aloo Parathas and Ginger tea for me with an extra scoop of Makkhan signifying the love she felt for me.


In a study by McCraty and colleagues (1998), 45 adults were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions.” The results of this study showed that there was a mean 23% reduction in the stress hormone cortisol after the intervention period.

Gratitude is a Choice


This Aunt, at 75, lives alone and at that age she could have enough and more to complain about but instead she chooses gratitude!


She chooses to feel deeply grateful for how much her children love and respect her and take care of her every need even if they are miles away.


She chooses gratitude and faith in God, that if anything adverse were to ever happen to her, her God will send someone to take care of her and keep her safe.

She chooses gratitude for her body that is keeping her fit to take care of herself and her home.


Her husband passed away 11 years ago, she said he had a heart condition for 20 years. While she misses him dearly, she chooses to be in gratitude for the extra 20 years she got to be with him.


Gratitude has become a habit for her which is seen so clearly in the abundance of happiness she emits in life.


Gratitude is a Somatic expression


Saying Thank you and feeling it are two different things.


When you say thank you, it can probably just pass off as yet another two words coming out of your mouth as a matter of habit. But when you truly feel grateful, saying those words will show in your eyes, it will show in your facial expressions, it will show in the way your body moves. That’s when that thank you has a higher chance of touching the other. More than that, you yourself will feel a deep sense of happiness from within. Your body will feel relaxed and your breath will be eased.

In a study by McCraty and colleagues (1998), 45 adults were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions.” The results of this study showed that there was a mean 23% reduction in the stress hormone cortisol after the intervention period.

When you feel and express gratitude you are sending out a warm energy to the other person and this in-turn can create a ripple effect of positive energy that the world needs.

As always, I leave you with a question to reflect on –

"Who are you if you don’t have the assumption that anything is wrong in life?"

When you find that answer, look around you and unearth reasons to ‘feel’ gratitude.


A Practice to make Gratitude a Habit –

Lotus of Gratitude

Every morning and night I spend 5 minutes doing this.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Start with your palms in Prayer position in front of your heart. Now make the shape of a closed lotus with your palms.

Next think of things you feel grateful for and each time open out one finger starting with your pinky, symbolising the opening of the lotus flower.

Then take both palms together, place them on your heart. Take a deep long breath, smile and open your eyes.

(I learnt this practice from Nithya Shanti, a spiritual leader)


With love and warmth,

Sheeja Shaju

Leadership Coach and Somatic Leader

I Create




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