Gratitude

It seems too simple and maybe even a bit cliche, but gratitude can be such a powerful tool in keeping us connected with ourselves, our intentions, and our dreams.



There are many ways to incorporate moments of gratitude in our lives. We may give thanks at the dinner table or in our daily prayers. We might be encouraged to take a moment of gratitude for ourselves for showing up to a yoga class and taking time for ourselves. We might feel grateful for a helping hand that someone gave us and let them know how much we appreciate it. In a world where our thoughts and sentiments can seem to be pulled towards the negative so easily, purposefully practicing gratitude can have a simple, yet potent impact on our thought processes, our state of mind, and our overall wellbeing.



We may feel like gratitude has to be about something big, like standing up for a just cause, someone's life being saved, or accomplishing a difficult goal. These things all deserve gratitude, but it's the little things day to day that can actually keep us on track towards these broader, big picture dreams and ideas. Taking moments of gratitude in our days can be in relation to anything that we want to acknowledge, even if that thing tends to feel unimportant. The little things really do matter and gratitude practices can help us remember that so we can handle the bigger things with a more positive perspective.



It's such a simple practice and can take so little time. It just takes a pause and your thoughts to notice any and all things you feel grateful for in your life right now. It might take a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on what you want to do. If you want to go a bit deeper in gratitude, you can focus on your breath and connect with your internal space. The simple practice of bringing attention to our breath is the first step in embodying our gratitude. To go even deeper, breath for a few moments and try connecting with your heart space or belly space (dantien), and let the gratitude you feel seep deeper into your body and the depths of your being. Sometimes just finding the feeling of gratitude, not about anything in particular, breathing it in and sitting with it for awhile can give us a deep sense of connection and positive outlook.



It can also be useful to share your gratitude with others and have them share theirs with you. Witnessing each other's thoughts and feelings can be a very powerful way to connect outside of ourselves and remember that we are not alone. Even in gratitude, those sneaky voices of "am I doing this right" or "is this even worth it" can pop up and that communication of our own truth mirrored back to us and shared by others can have a strong impact on our own confidence.



This week, whether it's on your own or with others, try taking some moments of gratitude. One practice you can try to slow it down and go a bit more deeply is to close your eyes, connect with your breath, then choose just 3 things you're grateful for. Then spend a few moments embodying each one, one at a time, breathing it into your heart or your belly before moving on to the next one. Even if we feel grateful for the same things many days in a row, that's fine! Embrace the gratitude fully and experience the difference it can make for you.

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