“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me” [2:152].
How to Be Happier in Five Minutes a Day
Remember when you got your favourite clothes and bought a new car, and you’ve been happy ever since? No, I didn’t think so.
It doesn’t work that way, does it? We buy things, we achieve goals, we indulge ourselves—but none of it gives us lasting happiness.
So, what does work? The answer is gratitude. Allah makes gratitude equal to His mention as this powerful ayah shows.
Unhappiness often stems from fear: fear of not having enough, fear of not being good enough.For example, you might be miserable at work because you’re afraid you can’t do your job well, and/or you’re afraid you’ll be fired. If you truly trust Allah, you will discover that your daily tool of productivity to counteract fear is gratitude!
So it’s time to get up and TRAIN yourself by making gratitude into a habit. This way you can reduce your fear and open yourself up to happiness.
It’s not mystical and it’s not difficult. Here’s the deal:
Each night after your last prayer, make a list of 5 things you’re grateful to Allah for.
It may seem strange or awkward at first, but anybody can think of five things. You could be grateful for your family, a sunny day, a great meal, your health, your best friend, or a special moment. Even if things are going badly, you could be grateful that they aren’t worse.
There’s no need to think big. An-Nu’maan ibn Al-Basheer said: “He who does not thank Allah for small favours, will not thank Him for great ones; and he who does not express gratitude to people (for doing him favours) will not express gratitude towards Allah. Appreciating and mentioning the favours bestowed upon one from Allah is gratitude, and not doing so expresses ingratitude” [Ahmad].
Whether the things on your list are as profound as a parent’s love for a child, or as frivolous as your love for milkshakes, the important thing is to come up with at least five things you’re grateful for, every day.
Why Daily Gratitude Works: the Scientific Explanation
By making a “gratitude list” every day, you train your brain to notice the positive. We encounter so much information every minute of our lives, our brains have to filter out most of it. Just think of this: when you learn a new word, suddenly you see that word everywhere. That’s because it’s been ‘reclassified’ as something important, so instead of leaving it in the background, your brain starts pointing it out to you.
You can take advantage of that effect. By making the daily gratitude list, you put your brain on the lookout for things to be grateful for. Before long, you start noticing them everywhere.
Just by being consciously grateful to Allah for at least five things every day, not only do you become more optimistic and satisfied with your life overall, but you will also sleep better and feel less depressed.
Big or small, what are the things you are grateful for today? Be grateful to Allah, be happier, and be more productive!