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Gratitude Rocks @laurajtong

by Vidya Sury April 8, 2016 38 comments
Gratitude Rocks Vidya Sury

I didn’t even have to think too hard about what I would choose for the letter G, because it sits in my heart.

Gratitude rocks

Being grateful is automatically a mindfulness practice as it involves appreciating every little thing. Gratitude is the direct route to happiness, as anyone who practices it will affirm.

Today, I am thrilled to roll out the Red Carpet for Laura Tong of PositivelyHappy.me (formerly enjoylifeslowly.com) with a guest post.

I met Laura and Mark a few weeks ago when they were lovingly invited me, asking if I would do an interview with them for their interview series about rewriting the rules in your life to be happier and more positive. Here’s the whole series.  I had such a delightful time talking to Laura and Mark that we had no idea that we’d overshot the 30 minutes we had scheduled until it was almost an hour!

How true it is that when we meet some people, it is as though our souls met!

I am deeply grateful to Laura for gracing us with her presence here today with a beautiful post on how to stop taking everything for granted and explode your happiness – because gratitude rocks!

Welcome, Laura!


How to Stop Taking Everything For Granted

and Explode Your Happiness

By Laura Tong

Can I tell you a little something about my parents?

I’ll be quick, I promise.

You see they did a great job of bringing my sister and I up to be the politest of polite kids, the two little girls that were always welcome, anywhere. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ could honestly have been our middle names.

And, looking back, I can see that politeness and good manners have got me a long way in life.

But to my mind, without being in any way disrespectful, my parents didn’t quite get it all right.

You see, in their desire to help us grow up liked and ever-welcome, they taught me that ‘thank you’ is something you must always say. The emphasis was on ‘always say’ not ‘always mean’.

So I learned to say ‘thank you’ almost by rote. I never used the word ‘grateful’, because I never heard the adults use it.

It took me years to realize that whilst invariably I was thankful for the presents I received – the toy kitchen, the pogo stick and trampoline from Trampolinea, the pack of felt pens  – what I was really grateful for was the love they’d put into choosing the gift itself.

And when I stopped taking everything for granted, I exploded my happiness.

Now, when I say’ thank you’, I mean it, wholeheartedly. I’m really saying my life is better because of this wonderful blessing.

My childhood ‘thank yous’ really need to be re-said. Gosh, that’s going to be a lot of letters to write!

To me, being grateful is a holding a genuine deep-down appreciation for something. And that appreciation is a feeling that makes me feel bright, very lucky and oh-so happy.

So here’s a short list of just some of the things I’m truly grateful for – the full list would take me forever because I find new things every day.

Come and explode your own happiness by recognizing your own priceless blessings

Gratitude Vidya Sury

90 Things I’m Blissfully Grateful For…

  1. The birds outside my breakfast window – for filling my mornings with sweet songs and incredible beauty.
  2. The smallest of gifts – for the love that’s really under the wrapping paper.
  3. My healthy mind and body – for letting me go at life with gusto.
  4. Aches and pains – for warning me to stop going at life with quite so much gusto before I damage something.
  5. My short little legs – for allowing me to dance (if a little unfashionably) with abandon.
  6. My sturdy arms – for helping me up when I trip. And for giving and receiving hugs.
  7. My lap – for anything that needs loving to come and sit a while.
  8. My lifelong friends – for picking me up when I fall down and for hugging my breath away every time we meet.
  9. My local community – for knowing I belong somewhere.
  10. The hole in my shoe – for giving me an excuse to buy a lovely new pair.
  11. Other’s opinion – (even if they don’t agree with mine) – for stopping me stagnating in my own little mindset and realizing that I may not always be right.
  12. The word sorry – for allowing me the chance to put right a wrong.
  13. Traffic jams – so I can have an excuse to listen to the radio and sing along without any one hearing.
  14. My darling, hairy husband – for being wonderfully silly, loving, kind, thoughtful and my absolute best friend.
  15. Such neighborly neighbors – for making it impossible for me to think of moving from my oh-so friendly neighborhood.
  16. The neighbors’ children next door – for their infectious giggles and excited chatter.
  17. Strangers – for being friends in waiting.
  18. The summer sunshine – for kissing my face after all those dark winter days.
  19. All the colors of Nature – for painting the world in a rainbow of loveliness.
  20. Money in my purse – not for itself, but for all the essentials it allows me to buy.
  21. Love, delicious love – for making me feel whole again.
  22. My forehead wrinkles – to remind me that I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of sunshine in my life.
  23. A friendly smile – for being a universal language that makes you feel instantly at home no matter where you are. collecting smiles vidya sury
  24. Eager dogs pawing at the door – for showing me even if it’s raining, there’s fun to be had outside.
  25. Hot water bottles – for soothing tweaked muscles without needing painkillers.
  26. Painkillers in my cupboard– for when hot water bottles aren’t enough.
  27. A Mug of coffee – for giving me the ability to form sentences first thing in the morning.
  28. The dinner table – for the perfect place to share quality time swapping the day’s stories with my husband, friends or family.
  29. Never-ending curiosity – for all the wonderful paths it leads me down.
  30. Practical jokes – for stopping me taking myself too seriously.
  31. Belly laughter – for reminding me the sun always shines again.
  32. Unessential housework – for giving me something I can put off until
  33. Common languages – for the opportunity to learn from wonderful people who live in different parts of the world to me but speak the same language.
  34. Cherished memories – for allowing me to enjoy the wonderful moments in life over and over.
  35. Unexpected change – for keeping me on my toes and letting me become robust enough to cope with whatever bumps into my life.
  36. Comedy movies – for the chance to escape into another world and recharge my batteries after a busy week.
  37. Pop, dance and jazz music – for providing a wonderful soundtrack to this wonderful life. I couldn’t write without it.
  38. Society – for making it not only safe but pleasurable to be out and about.
  39. Every flavor of pie – for the pastry kingdom of deliciousness I just can’t resist.
  40. Fruity red wine – for the glass of pure sunshine I can share with friends.
  41. My comfy bed – for the luxury, warmth and security of a restful night’s sleep.
  42. The inventors of the Internet – for the opportunities to connect with wonderful people like you.
  43. Beautiful pens and colored paper – for the irrational joy they bring me.
  44. My green rain boots – for letting me childishly splash through puddles.
  45. My garden haven – for a beautiful green space to play, eat and indulge my passion for nature in.
  46. Glitz and glamor – for the shine they bring to the every day.
  47. Genuine empathy – for the connection it brings with others and the bond that follows.
  48. A kind heart – so I can translate that empathy into action.
  49. Recognition from others – for the way it gently buffs my ego.
  50. A Glass of refreshing tap water – for tasting so good and keeping me alive.
  51. Childish fun – for taking the routine out of any task.
  52. My tiny size 3 feet – for my uncommon size in shoes always being the one left in stock in a sale.
  53. Difficult life choices – for the chance to get good at making decisions that are right for me.
  54. Stripy bumble bees – for the joy of watching them fill their furry pockets with pollen while pollinating my flowers.Gratitude Vidya Sury
  55. My little hatchback car – for the 70,000 miles it has trundled me around Europe despite being 23 years old.
  56. My fleecy pajamas (OK, I confess, they’ve got sheep on) – for making every evening relaxing, comfortable and fun.
  57. Hardworking farmers – for all the tasty carrots, potatoes, garlic, lentils, corn and a thousand other yummy, nutritious foods I enjoy every day.
  58. My lusty singing voice – for the way it clears my lungs and fills my head with happiness (although I’m not sure everyone who hears me feels the same).
  59. The colors each season brings – for their beautiful variety and the chance to look forward to a new phase in the year.
  60. Untidy chaos – for reminding my perfectionist streak to let go and stop worrying about things I can’t control.
  61. Silly viral videos – for all the giggles I’ve had over skateboarding dogs, mischievous raccoons and pandas sneezing.
  62. Children’s charities (and every other kind) – for the opportunities to help others and feel good that I have.
  63. Our helpful garbage men – for willingly dealing with my trash so that I don’t have to.
  64. True romance – for making my marriage a real life fairy tale.
  65. My gorgeous Labrador dog, Ruggers – for giving me nothing but love and fun for 15 whole years.
  66. Swimming lessons at school – for allowing me to take boat rides without worrying about drowning if we capsize (silly I know, but it’s amazing what goes through your mind).
  67. Underwear – for keeping me respectable when I trip in the street.
  68. Acres of leafy trees – for making my drive to work so beautiful every morning.
  69. My trusty mountain bike – for toning my bottom somewhat.
  70. My kaleidoscopic of acrylic paints – for letting me color my imagination onto canvas.
  71. More books than I can ever read – for the incredible things I learn. Gratitude Vidya Sury
  72. Glorious sunshine – I know this is the second time I’m grateful, but I’m from the UK and I’m doubly grateful every time the sun peeks out.
  73. My potting shed – for keeping all the seedlings warm until it’s time for the pleasure of planting them out.
  74. Big, wet raindrops – for all the wonderful life the rain brings.
  75. Independent travel – for allowing me to experience first-hand, just how awesomely kind people are the world over.
  76. My rewarding job – for giving me the chance to spend all day around children or ‘little sunshines on legs’ – I work in an elementary school.
  77. My next birthday – for the reminder that I’ll have had the privilege to live another year on this amazing planet. And being in August, for it being in the school summer holidays!
  78. My fabulous eyesight – so I can see just how much in the world I have to be grateful for.
  79. My sharp ears – So I can hear myself grumbling and remind myself to stop.
  80. The voice of my conscience – for making sure I don’t say or do the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.
  81. Heartfelt compliments – for the chance to make people feel genuinely good about themselves.
  82. Ants and elephants – for reminding me you can make an impact in the world whatever you’re size.
  83. Breath – I use to have an inhaler when I was a kid and be stuck inside on the couch for days at a time. Now I love filling my lungs with mountains of fresh air.
  84. Waking up this morning- for having the chance of another day to make a positive difference in my life and in others.
  85. My parents – for starting me out on the road to gratitude that I’m still on.
  86. Good news – for the reminder that life is overwhelmingly good.
  87. A million acts of kindness performed by ordinary people around the world every day– for making this spinning planet a wondrous place to be every single minute.
  88. Hearts big enough to forgive – so I can mess up and still have somewhere to go for the holidays.
  89. Gratitude itself – for allowing me to find more blessings in my life every day.
  90. You – for taking the time to stop by and read this…

By realizing there is always something to be genuinely thankful for, I’ve stopped taking everything for granted. And this has given me an enormous sense of wellbeing and optimism for the future:

  • If my health deteriorates, I’ll have love to care for me.
  • If my home disappears into a black hole, I’ll have friends to pull me out and help rebuild it.
  • If my life smacks into abrupt change, I’ll have experience and creativity to help me adapt.
  • If my day is filled with negative chatter and news, I’ll have the beautiful garden birds to transport me back to blissful positivity.

Gratitude rocks.

I’m so thankful I found it.

I wish you a lifetime of delighting in every possible thing you can be thankful for and the happy heart you’ll have in exchange.

Now explode your own happiness – If there’s anything you’re grateful for I’ve missed in the list above, write it down in the comments below and share your gratitude with the world.

Thank you for reading.

About Laura:

Laura Tong, a former health professional, is on a mission to help you become the most positive, assertive and happy version of yourself. Grab her latest book The Life-Changing Power of NO!: How To Stop Trying To Please Everyone, Start Standing Up For Yourself, And Say No Without Guilt Or Conflict (Even To Difficult People)

Vidya Sury gratitude

What are you grateful for, today? ♥

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Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Thank you so much Vidya for sharing this post. I now have an extra special one to add to my gratitude list today: being a part of the wonderfully kind and caring community here at vidasury.com Lots and lots of hugs xx

Vidya Sury April 9, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I am honored to have you here in my space, Laura! 🙂 Thank you for so many smiles today! Hugs! I hope you enjoyed the coffee!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Emotional Mindfulness

Yolanda Renee April 9, 2016 at 9:50 pm

A truly beautiful long list, it just shows there are more positive things in the world than negative. Why do we forget that? And yes, Vidya and her blogs should definitely be on the list!
This morning I was grateful for the warmth of my bed, the luxury of being able to rest there and listen to the birds outside my window, and the knowledge that today will be what I make it!
Yolanda Renee recently posted…H – HYPOTHERMIA

Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Thank you for adding such wonderful things that we can all be grateful for Yolanda – oh and how warm and cosy is bed, particularly on Monday morning? 🙂 I love your point of being thankful that we each day can be what we choose to make it – may I borrow that one please!

Darla M Sands April 9, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Awesome! What a lovely list.
Darla M Sands recently posted…H is for Hollywood Undead

Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 11:39 pm

Thank you Darla, I’m delighted you enjoyed this – the truth was it came out as so much longer a list and I had to stop when I had so many more I could have added. It’s funny, some of these things I really appreciate because I don’t always have them like hot water (we stay in a little cottage in France without it for 8 weeks every year and although I don’t miss it at all when I’m there, oh boy do I enjoy it when I get back home; but other things strike almost every day, that I’m so lucky to be healthy, that my husband is so kind – I never tire of appreciating these things. Enjoy all your blessings.

Darla M Sands April 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

I do try! It’s become habit these last few years to start every morning’s diary entry with five blessings. They may be very specific or as broadly based as being thankful for plastic and all the ways it makes my life easier, even healthier. Best wishes!
Darla M Sands recently posted…H is for Hollywood Undead

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

I enjoy starting my day that way too, Darla and it makes a huge difference in our outlook for the day! Thank you so much for coming by!
Vidya Sury recently posted…ABC of Mindfulness

Jemima Pett April 9, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Thank you! I had the same trouble, saying ‘thank you’ all the time. Being British, now it’s either that or ‘sorry’! 😀
Jemima Pett recently posted…Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss

Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Tee hee, so true Jemima, I love how polite we Brits are, like many other nations too, but it takes a while in life sometimes to reach the point where we stop and think ‘hang on, what am I actually saying here’. Thank you for joining this discussion and for sharing this post. I can see one of your little blessings in your photo, enjoy all your others 🙂

vanita April 9, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Nice to meet you Laura! I was also raised to be “one of the most polite children in the world”. My parents taught me that appearances mattered. I guess, in their world, in that era, appearances did matter. I believe today, gratitude is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. My hope is that when they’re adults, they’ll feel so blessed by everything that they have, earn and receive, they’ll truly be happy and content.

Parul April 9, 2016 at 11:27 pm

I remember your posts on Gratitude rocks. And that personal list on positive things is awesome. I loved how you said, sunshine with legs 🙂
Parul recently posted…H for Happy To Bleed #AtoZChallenge

Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Thank you Parul. children are pure sunshine though, aren’t they 🙂 I’m delighted you enjoyed this. Enjoy all your blessings too.

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:21 am

I know – in fact each item on Laura’s list is so joyful, Parul! Thank you for commenting!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Business and Mindfulness

Laura J. Tong April 9, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Thank you Vanita, what a lovely welcome – I’m so delighted to meet you all here today. You’ve made such a great point, if children grow up to really appreciate their blessings they can live a life of contentment and pursue the things that are truly important to them from their earliest opportunity. I do love that my parents wanted us to be welcome everywhere, that is a blessing that has helped me in life and I thank them for that. It’s just that now, I truly appreciate what I have to be grateful for.

Vidya Sury April 10, 2016 at 12:03 am

Laura, Again, what a beautiful list. My gratitude journal looks pretty similar – I enjoy noting down every little thing that brings joy. Recently I made a list of 99 things that made me smile/happy. And the best thing about getting down to making these lists is – it is so hard to stop! What a nice feeling that brings. I was brought up to be polite no matter what – and in fact, our family literally believed that girls should neither be seen nor heard – so we followed those “rules” to a point. Of course I rebelled as soon as I could, but I retained the rules of always being kind to people. My Grandma believed that if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing because it is a terrible thing to hurt someone through words and have them remember it all their lives. 🙂

Thanks again for a fabulous post. I will be reading it from time to time! ♥
Vidya Sury recently posted…The F Word

Laura J. Tong April 10, 2016 at 5:41 pm

It’s an absolute pleasure Vidya. Funnily enough, as I was reading your comment I thought… I bet Vidya rebelled as early as possible 🙂 To us you are the epitome of kindness 🙂

Susan Scott April 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with your comment Laura about Vidya! And you too sound so great, loved your list thank you!
Susan Scott recently posted…H: Heart and Capacity for Change

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:18 am

Susan, you are too kind!
Laura, please do visit Susan – you will love her!
Vidya Sury recently posted…ABC of Mindfulness

Laura J. Tong April 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Thank you for taking the time to join this discussion Susan. I’m delighted that you enjoyed this list of the wonderful, wonderful blessings that fill my days. I’ll be sure to come visit your Garden of Eden blog. Enjoy all the riches in your life.

Quinn Eurich April 11, 2016 at 3:29 am

Laura, I don’t think anyone does lists like this better than you do!

Thanks for sharing!

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

I have to agree, Quinn. I love lists and I am thrilled to share Laura’s fabulous 90! So glad you are here today!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Emotional Mindfulness

Laura J. Tong April 11, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by to add your kind words Quinn – I’m so pleased you enjoyed this. Relish all your wonderful blessings.

Dahlia April 11, 2016 at 6:48 am

Yes! There is so much to be grateful for – starting with each day I dont have a headache! Appreciate your mindful posts Vidya 🙂
Dahlia recently posted…H = Haldi Ceremony

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:14 am

Interesting, Dahlia – these days I’ve added that headache to my gratitude list. Summer is here with a vengeance and warm days and nights can transform the heat into a headache! Hugs, and may you always feel refreshed and happy!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Emotional Mindfulness

Laura J. Tong April 11, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Thank you for adding one of your own things you are grateful for. And that’s a great one that I would have to agree with, I’m so super fortunate to only have a headache once every few years which I am hugely appreciative of. Here’s to a thousand mornings headache-less and many, many other blessings for you.

Ann Davis April 11, 2016 at 7:23 am

Hey Laura,

Thanks for this post. Gratitude has eased my pain ( I used to have migraines not anymore) . I’am more happier than I used to be- gratitude rocks!!!

Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

Hi Ann! Nice to meet you! And how wonderful to hear about how practising gratitude helped you. Indeed gratitude rocks!

Laura J. Tong April 11, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Thanks for joining in this ‘In praise of gratitude’ rally! I’m so delighted that gratitude rocks your world. Enjoy all the fabulous blessings you have and here’s to realizing some more.

Rachel April 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Hey Laura/Vidya,

Where do I sign up. This post certainly makes it clear why gratitude rocks. I was reading down your 90 thinking – me too. That coffee in the morning before I start my first writing session always has me in glory. There are not too many days I wake up not feeling happy for the choices I made when it comes to writing. And another me too – was when you talk about your brain. I love my thoughts and so appreciate who I am. There was a time in my life where I wanted to be anyone but me. Now there is only one person I want to be and I living that skin.

I want to repeat so many you have written down because they too apply to me. Thanks for a reminder about the ones I did not recognise and for the – me too moments.


Vidya Sury April 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Hi Rachel! It is a pleasure to meet you and connect with you. I love what you wrote in the comment – I think we all go through that identity crisis to some extent and then feel liberated when we feel the transformation – of most definitely wanting to be ourselves. Finding ourselves is the most beautiful thing. I am very glad you enjoyed Laura’s list. I am so loving it!

Hugs! Looking forward to staying in touch!
Vidya Sury recently posted…How do you treat a friend?

Laura J. Tong April 13, 2016 at 1:34 am

Thanks so much for joining this wonderfully uplifting conversation on why gratitude is such a blessing in itself. As Vidya has said so well, when we’re comfortable with who we truly are, life blossoms like the brightest of spring bulbs – bright, vibrant and a delightful inspiration for others – I’m so delighted you’re now in great company, you and yourself. Enjoy the great long list of wonderful things you can say thank you for. 🙂

themoonstone April 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Lovely list Laura. There’s a story in Mahabharata which talks about how Yudhishtara(the eldest Pandu prince) refused to say “I will always say the truth” for a long time, till he had actually ” understood” it, while the others could never understand what the problem was.. Your saying “thank you” reminded me of that 🙂
themoonstone recently posted…Purposeless on Purpose

Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 1:06 pm

What a nice analogy, Asha. How nice if we all only said things we meant! Thank you for your wonderful comment!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Inner Smile

Laura J. Tong April 14, 2016 at 2:00 am

Thank you TheMoonstone for such an interesting comment – it’s wonderful to connect with you. I love how one idea can remind us of valuable lessons we’ve learned and sometimes forgotten. So delighted this post spoke to you. Enjoy all the incredible things in life you have to be grateful for.

Birgit April 18, 2016 at 7:20 am

This is a long list but a wonderful one and just shows how much we can be thankful for if we just look at things differently.
Birgit recently posted…Letter N

Laura J. Tong April 20, 2016 at 2:06 am

Thank you Birgit, and the truth is… it was so much longer originally! I had to stop adding to the list and also to leave some amazing things out because I honestly could have added and added and added. Being grateful is a magical act that in itself seems to generate so many more things I really appreciate. Delight in all your blessings, from the tiny to the huge 🙂

G Angela August 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Wow what a beautiful post vidya, thank you for bringing Lara here – I just enjoyed reading this long:) list, I was smiling away as I went on reading, I wondered how I missed this post. Thank you vidya and Laura for sharing this and bringing fresh new energy into me at the end of the day today. Truly “Gratitude Rocks!!


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