Around Thanksgiving, I’m drawn to the subject of gratitude and how to put it into practice on a daily basis. I have to admit, I’m not ready for the typical stress of the holiday season and am on a mission to keep the season as stress-free as possible with a mixture of appreciation for all that I have and awareness of all I can give.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is a subject that I keep hearing about, as researchers are learning that people who are grateful and express their gratitude are happier, healthier, less stressed, and less prone to depression than the average person. If you possess a high capacity for gratitude, you often live life with a sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation.
Acknowledging the benefits of gratitude is one thing, but it can still be difficult to feel grateful when we are going through difficult situations or feeling overwhelmed. That’s why the acknowledgement of the good things in your life is a practice that should be done on a daily basis, to build those “thankful muscles” and sustain you during the not-so-good times.
So, what am I grateful for this year?
I am grateful for the warm hugs of my children and love of my husband. Their love sustains me and offers the most valuable lessons in flexibility, patience and compassion.
I am grateful for my meditation practice. Meditation is truly my mental therapy. By helping me bring more mindfulness to my actions — and especially my reactions — I am able to have more compassion for myself and others.
I am grateful for my yoga practice. My yoga mat is where I am able to make the mind-body connection and become more grounded, able to handle the ups and downs of life.
More specifically, I am grateful for balance poses in yoga. Over time, I have learned that the balance poses are the greatest reflection of where my mind is. If I am present in the moment, I can maintain Tree Pose like I am part of the forest. But if my mind is wandering elsewhere, so does my body.
And I am especially grateful for arm balance poses. These poses were my biggest fear when I started my yoga practice, but learning to work through them and conquer my fear has brought me back to a sense of playfulness that is free and uncontained.
Finally, I am grateful for the beauty of nature. The beauty, simplicity, and order of the outdoors constantly reminds me of my place in the world and the bigger picture going on around me.
If we give ourselves the chance to be open and aware of all of the gifts in our lives, seeing the good in every situation and expressing our heartfelt gratitude to others, we can increase our sense of well-being and quality of life.
Now it’s your turn: What are you grateful for today?
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