The Benefits of Gratitude For Self-Care

Have you ever said alhamdulillah & then immediately felt a sense of calmness, like something floated off your shoulders?

If so, that is what I refer to as “calmness via gratitude”’, which is ultimately about learning to de-stress, as a part of self-care.

As we all know, life can be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re a working mother, with so many tasks & people needing your attention. And that’s why it’s important that you know how to de-stress in a healthy way that works for you.

For some its exercise, a massage, uninterrupted “me time”, play time with their children, date night with their husband or a girls night with close friends.

Whatever it is – it has to work! You ultimately need to come back refreshed & with less focus on what was bothering you & possibly even a solution if the stress was a problem that needed solving.

Getting organised & stress.

When it comes to an organised lifestyle a big advantage is that it gives us a sense of calm & joy in our surroundings & in our days, which helps with dealing with stress in our lives.

This includes:

  • Returning to a tidy, decluttered home after a difficult day at work
    • Visual clutter can create a cluttered mind because we’re being overwhelmed with things we need to do, such as dishes to wash, papers to file.
  • Having healthy energy to be as productive as possible
    • Put simply, when you feel great, you do MORE great things.
  • Finding time to read one page of Quran a day each morning
    • It’s indeed a blessing if we can start our days reading like this & reflecting on the words, which provide perspective & clarity about life.
  • Accomplishing deadlines by being time conscious
    • Looming deadlines can be quite daunting so when you’re prepared for them the tasks are easier in’sha’Allah.

Our tidy homes or actioned to-do lists aren’t enough for dealing with stress because our minds will soon just move onto the next thing that’s bothering us!

So this is where calmness comes in … Being grateful for what we already have & for the ability to solve any problems we’re facing (coupled with self-confidence & healthy energy).

When we’re not displaying gratitude, however, everything becomes a drama! The smaller issues become bigger in our minds & the bigger ones become unsolvable.

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to be able to help each person with every single issue they’re facing in life, but I can certainly suggest prayer, dua & gratitude as things that can help in’sha’Allah to accompany a proactive solution.

Gratitude journals.

Gratitude journals have been a very popular tool for some time.

It’s really in their ability to allow us to pause for a few moments & take a closer look at our days – no matter how difficult or stressful it was – & be grateful, to say alhamdulillah.

“When I was overwhelmed because of my lack of energy & chaotic days, it was essentially gratitude that helped me free myself of that stress & negative energy.

I literally was sitting on my bed & was grateful for all that I had at that moment & it created so much new energy & clarity.”

What do you write down in a journal?

  • You can be grateful for what you have & what you don’t have
  • You can write down experiences that you’re grateful for because they taught you a lesson
  • You can be grateful for something you saw because in Allah swt creation there are signs for the believer

These journals can be very personal & only you can decide what you want to share within it.

How to start a gratitude journal.

  1. Find a notebook that you like in terms of its cover style, size, & inside contents – as you’ll be more motivated to use something you like
  2. Choose the best time for you to reflect on your day, such as once your children are asleep, after Isha prayer or just before you get ready for bed
  3. Consider adding gratitude to your daily to-do list or on your phone as a reminder, especially at the beginning where you’re still getting used to journaling
  4. Don’t just limit yourself to words if you don’t want to – be creative with drawings, stickers or pasting mementos from your day (eg. cards, movie tickets etc)
  5. Write from your heart, be sincere & intentional with your words
  6. Store your journal in a safe place that is accessible each day

Prayer & dua.

If you’re a practising Muslimah, that is you undertake the 5 pillars of Islam, you’ll be familiar with the blessing of prayer & dua.

If you’re not but would like to know more please reach out & I’ll direct you to some resources.

Embracing prayer & dua in our lives is like giving yourself permission to acknowledge the presence of Allah swt & Islam in our lives. Yes, prayer is an obligation upon a believer, however, there’s so much beauty at those 5 times a day (6 if you do Tahajjud prayer) that can make us feel like it’s not only our duty.

The beauty of prayer & dua.

  • being able to recite (or attempt to recite depending on your abilities) the words of the Quran
  • bowing down in prostration, which is the most humbling position for man
  • acknowledging Prophet Abraham (as) & Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in every prayer
  • making dua throughout prayer & at the end for only Allah swt to hear

Such spiritual self-care comes when we embrace prayer & dua each day alhamdulillah because our hearts want to be closer to Allah swt.

How to embrace prayer & dua.

  • don’t view prayer & dua as a chore
  • plan your days around prayer
  • understand why you are praying
  • learn to practice better khushoo each day
  • understand why you make dua
  • learn to make dua throughout your prayers

Do let me know in the comments how you deal with stress & practice gratitude as part of self-care.