PTPA Blogaholics: Meet Vidya

Beginning Each Day With Gratitude

I am excited to be a PTPA Blogaholic.

I live in the beautiful city of Bangalore, India, with my family. Ten years ago, I quit my corporate career to live my dream as a writer and blogger and today I am grateful to be doing what I love and love what I do. I started blogging in 2003 with the intention of creating a positive space on the web.

I have five blogs of my own and contribute to a few others. I enjoy collecting smiles and write about parenting, health, happiness, gratitude, kindness, mindfulness and travel. I also review books and share inspiring stories.

I am Mom to an 18-year-old who seems to be growing up way too fast. Besides enjoying mindful living, DIY, travel, photography, cooking, books and coffee, I focus on staying healthy, showing my diabetes who’s boss.

For PTPA, I am looking forward to focusing on my most favorite topic, Health & Wellness, with special emphasis on internal wellness such as gratitude, kindness, balance, happiness, giving.

My first post for 2016 is, naturally, gratitude, because I believe that it is the direct route to happiness.

I have a ritual every morning, which is lighting the lamp at the altar, a family tradition. I like to begin the day with a prayer of thanks for all that I have, and all that I am about to receive. Ever since I started this practice several years ago, I’ve found my day is much brighter. The secret is to appreciate every little thing and count each blessing.

In fact, grateful people are generally one up on those who are not. Gratitude definitely makes us more optimistic, which automatically impacts our health in a positive way.

Being thankful helps us take better care of ourselves. We develop healthy habits. We are motivated to eat healthy, stay active and consequently feel less stress. We start living in the moment and feel more satisfied with life as we focus on what we have, rather than what we do not have.

When I was little, my Mom encouraged me to maintain a gratitude journal. She urged me to write down everything that I felt thankful for, including the things we took for granted.

When my son was old enough to write, we created a family activity called the Gratitude Jar, which later became the Happiness Jar. Same thing.

We picked a large clear container and stuck a smiley on it.

We placed it in a prominent place.

At the end of the day, we sat down to list the things we were grateful for and wrote it on a slip of paper, which we then folded and dropped in the jar.

Just seeing the jar fill up was so uplifting.

When it brimmed over, we’d transfer the contents into a big box.

At the end of each month, it was so much fun to open that box and pick random notes and read them together.  In the midst of lots of laughter, we’d reminisce over that happy moment and feel grateful all over again.

Here are some of my gratitude practices:

  • Every day, I make it a point to write in my gratitude journal.
  • When I feel stressed, I set the timer for 5 minutes, take a sheet of paper and list all that I am grateful for. I usually target 10, and end up with 15. Great habit!
  • I make it a point to tell the people I interact with regularly how much I appreciate them.
  • Life is hectic and it is easy to miss the little scoops of joy we receive. Slowing down a little and noticing all the good things can make a huge difference. One way to do this is practice mindfulness. I focus on everything I do. Each sip of coffee, each bite of that cookie.
  • I awaken my senses, seeing, listening, inhaling, absorbing every sound and nuance.
  • At every opportunity I get, I try to do something nice for someone. On Thursdays, I buy large packs of buns and distribute them to the homeless who gather outside the temple near our place.
  • I celebrate every special occasion including birthdays, anniversaries and achievements by sponsoring a meal at my local welfare home or School for the Blind.
  • I consciously restrain myself from complaining. Instead, I appreciate what I have.
  • I watch my language. I use positive words as often as I can. When I have to express something negative, I pause and choose a gentle word.
  • I smile a lot and say thanks whenever I can.

See how easy that is?

The truth is, gratitude is transformative and changes one’s attitude towards life, resulting in feeling more fulfilled. Gratitude is incredibly powerful.

Do you have a gratitude practice? Please do share!

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