Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Attitude of gratitude

Is it just me or does it feel as though the majority of the Western world is in constant pursuit of more, more, more? We are sold an image of a future life in which we'll have a nicer home, a better car, an updated wardrobe - it's almost like a competition, keeping up with the Jones's if you will. I know I'm generalising and exaggerating somewhat, but I also know that I'm guilty of sometimes wanting "more", and I feel we could all do with a little reminder from time-to-time that what we have in this very moment is all we ever really need. We could all benefit from being a little more grateful. By my books one can never practice enough gratitude!

Yogi Bhajan says that "An attitude of gratitude is the highest form of yoga" - not practicing asanas (postures), not breathe control, not even meditating - nope, gratitude is the winner. And without making this post all about yoga (I promise I won't!), Yogi Bhajan was a pretty wise guy, and really that sentence could read "An attitude of gratitude is the highest form of life". After all a grateful life is a happy life. If you're grateful about what you do have then you are much less likely to be bothered about what you don't have, and this will surely lead to greater happiness! Something we are all seeking.

And if you need further convincing of why gratitude is essential to your life then have a read of this recent Yoganoymous article on why Grateful People are Healthier.

So, gratitude makes us happier, it makes us healthier, but how do we go about practicing it more regularly and effectively? Here are some of my ideas:

1) Take a little more time over, and show a little more appreciation for, the "small" things (which are actually much bigger than they first seem!). Having a hot shower. Having a snug duvet. Enjoying a cuppa. Become more mindful when undertaking these simple day-to-day pleasures, by taking a little more time over them and saying to yourself beforehand "I am grateful for this shower. I am grateful for this duvet. I am grateful for this drink". Not only are you practicing gratitude, but I can almost guarantee that said activity will bring you even more pleasure than it usually does.

2) Write Thank You notes. Whether it's a "thank you for my birthday gift", "thank you for having me over", "thank you for being such a great friend", a thank you note never goes unnoticed.  It's a wonderful practice to cultivate as you are openly expressing gratitude to your love ones, meaning you are both practicing gratitude yourself and showing people that their kindness is appreciated. This will create a cycle of gratitude and goodness!

3) Wake up and practice gratitude! Don't miss a beat! Even lie in your bed with your eyes closed and list 3 things that you're grateful for right there and then. If you want a more structured practice then you could hop out of bed, find a comfortable seated position, and spend 5-15 minutes meditating on the things you are grateful for.

4) Thank people openly throughout your day. If a stranger is helpful, if your Mum makes you dinner, if you spouse does something thoughtful, make sure you say "thank you". It might seem obvious but we can often overlook the small things others do for us, and making your "thank you" heard will go a long way.

5) Write a gratitude diary. Whether it's an actual written diary or on a Gratitude App writing a gratitude diary is a great way to practice gratitude (I have said "gratitude" way too much in that sentence!). Even if it's just listing one thing per day that you're grateful for, this practice will cultivate a more grateful, happy you.

These are all such simple, easy things to incorporate in your daily life, and I can almost guarantee that even if you begin practicing them you will become a happier and healthier individual.

Do you have any tips for practicing gratitude in your daily life? And since beginning them have you seen any differences in yourself?

Love & light beauties,

L x

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