Assalaamu Alaykum wr wb Dearest Sisters,
As a part of our series, we have smaller topics. We’re starting with Gratitude and the many benefits of it. The reason is because we have a practical that we’d like to start implementing right away, and there are excellent reasons to start today.
There are endless evidences in the deen, but it simple amazes me how Allah swt has given us each and every aspect of our humanity and has shown us how to use these attributes, which benefit us far more than we know. Who could have imagined that the quality of gratitude (shukr) to Allah swt and others can have such a healing affect on our own health? What Allah swt has said for us to do in our deen is absolutely in our best interest. SubhanAllah.
Everyday science proves Islam really is the natural disposition and intended, complete way of life.
We can never count Allah’s Blessings:
Be ever grateful to Allah for everything that you possess including your wealth, health, status, intellectual abilities and life. Allah says: “Is, then, He Who creates comparable to any that cannot create? Will you not, then, take heed? For should you try to count Allah’s blessings, you could never compute them” (An-Nahl 16:17-19)
Shukr leads to abundance in Allah’s favors:
If you appreciate Allah’s favors, He has promised increased Rahma or mercy for you. Allah’s reward for your gratitude is unlimited and unconditional. “If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more” (Ibrahim 14:7).
As far as the science goes, for decades, scientists have focused on negative emotions and health. But now, scientists have begun studying positive emotions on health. For example, gratitude and its effect on the heart. Research studies show a relationship and evidence between gratitude and reduced markers for heart failure such as inflammation. Gratitude has also been proven to help us sleep better, have positive moods, and a better outlook on life.
Studies show that feelings of gratitude foster perceptions and cognitions that help people see beyond their illness and see other positive aspects of themselves – to acknowledge and remember their other blessings despite their disease. Some studies show that gratitude doesn’t necessarily reduce seeing the negatives in life but this acknowledgement of the positive has profound effects in their emotional and spiritual health.
Due to such encouraging findings in research studies, another study was conducted where heart failure patients were asked to keep a gratitude journal for two months. The conclusion of that study was that there were reduced markers of inflammation as well as increased heart rate variability (HRV) compared with patients who received just their usual care alone. HRV is significant because this refers to the variation in time interval between heartbeats (influenced by components of the autonomic nervous system), and is considered an important indicator of health. Heart failure is typically characterized by a loss of HRV as the disease progresses.
There are many ways to cultivate gratitude. Praying more often has also been found in research to help people to be more grateful. The simple act of writing down what we’re grateful for, which was used in the research studies, can increase gratitude. No matter what the form, simply asking each day “What am I grateful for?” can bring awareness and appreciation to the positive features within and around us, helping us to embrace life as it is with all of its imperfections. When gratitude is present in our awareness, everything changes and we can find ourselves transformed. By cultivating gratitude, research suggests, we cultivate well-being.
To take part in the practical, please join our Ladies Facebook Group.
2 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.