Gratitude and “The Impossible”

I have an exciting announcement to make… Tuesday evenings are now “movie night”* in the Hothi household! (Edit: 13/11/2015 We need to bring movie night back – today is Friday and it’s the first we’ve had in weeks).

This started spontaneously just a couple of weeks back, and this Tuesday was our third instalment. Something nice for the family to look forward to early in the week, and another excuse to spend a couple of hours’ quality time together. Win, win. I’d recommend it to all.

This week’s film** was an incredible one called The Impossible, documenting a true story which spurned from the devastating South Asian tsunami which struck on Boxing Day, 2004. Watching on BluRay disc the special effects were unbelievable (my mouth probably hasn’t opened so wide since James Cameron’s Avatar), and made the film that much more harrowing and ‘real’. It follows a family who had been in/by a swimming pool within their Thailand resort on that day, and we are built up to the time when the tsunami strikes, before seeing the terrifying events unfold. We watch as the family become separated amongst the mayhem, struggling not only to re-unite but also for their survival.

the-impossible screenshot

The film served up a necessary reminder of just how powerful mother nature is, and that we sometimes forget this and underestimate Her. Since the tsunami, an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System has been put in place; it is tragic that it took the devastating events of December 26th, 2004 before this investment was made and that many lives could have been saved. (It also begged the question- do we need to think about other impending disasters and try to put systems in place to negate the damage and loss of lives? Perhaps a paranoid way of thinking, but one can’t help feeling that within the next decade, another unexpected natural disaster may occur; I guess the trouble is the sheer unpredictability of these events)

During the film, I felt an overwhelming feeling which continued to grow right until the end, and stayed with me after it had finished – gratitude. I found myself putting my own life into perspective, and realising just how phenomenally lucky I am, and indeed many of us are.

So much so, that it kickstarted me into writing my first gratitude journal entry in a couple of weeks (in case you’re curious, I have included my own journal entry from Tuesday night at the end of the post). Research continues to show the powerful positive effect gratitude has on our lives – another example where ancient wisdom is being backed up by science.

So, how can you feel the benefits of gratitude?

You’ll need some pen and paper, and between 2-5minutes of your time before you sleep.

  1. Before you get into bed, or whilst sat on your bed, write just 3 or 5 things that you are grateful for, right now, in this moment
  2. Read out aloud, and then read a second time
  3. Pause and reflect. Repeat a third reading if you’d like to.

The statements can be as ‘profound’ or ‘trivial’ as you like; e.g. ‘I am grateful for the dinner I ate this evening’, ‘I am grateful for having a best friend to talk to’, ‘I am grateful for being alive today’, and so forth.

You may well notice how good you now feel right in that moment, just before bed. You will also start to feel the difference each day. If you can’t find the discipline to do this every night, try one night a week, and then several nights a week, and then daily. Though I call it a ‘journal’ you don’t have to keep a strict journal in that sense; you can just as well just take a new loose scrap of paper each night instead, and jot down (or write neatly!) on that.

It takes just 2-5 minutes – a minuscule portion of your day – and the perspective it will give you, and the impact it will have, will make it really worthwhile. So often we focus on what we don’t have, rather than take stock of what we do have.

Give it a try, and let me know how you get on. More importantly, notice how it makes you feel, and try to incorporate it into your daily routine. (Habits typically take an average of 21 days to form, watch out for a future post on ‘habits’ and how to increase your odds of sticking at them).

Have a great weekend, and I hope it’s filled with sprinkles of joy and gratitude.

 

*(despite being British and living in England, “film night” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?)

**(oddly, in this context, ‘film’ sounds better than ‘movie’…curious eh)

 

My gratitude journal entry, 11/08/2015

(Originally handwritten, now typed for the purposes of this post):

I have just watched “The Impossible” with my family, and I suddenly feel very grateful.

  • I am grateful to have my life
  • I am grateful to have such an unbelievably comfortable life
  • I feel lucky and grateful for having my mother, father and brother so close to me, in person and emotionally
  • I am grateful for my beating heart, for my functioning organs, my functioning limbs, my eyes and sight, my ears and hearing, my whole, healthy self.

I am so lucky and grateful.

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