Gratitude… who has time for that these days? Between driving, working, texting, social media updates, busy schedules, fitting in a workout and connecting with friends, life can be stressful, overwhelming, over-stimulating and downright exhausting.
With the hectic reality of everyday life, it’s extremely hard to drop-in and connect with our true nature. Self-awareness gets thrown out the window and we’re in full plow-through-it, get-stuff-done mode. It’s at times like these that we forget to appreciate the little things in our lives. We sometimes don’t even make time to pause, to smile or to take a deep, joyful breath.
When I started mindfulness as a teenager, I was told by a mentor that, “Within our hearts we carry a portable paradise.” That really resonated with me. If this statement is true and happiness is our birthright, then why are so many people miserable and don’t have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ every moment of the day? What skills and tools do we need to use to be able to tap into our inner compass when we are so unbalanced?
Scientific studies and positive psychology research is now proving that people who consciously focus on gratitude and mindfulness practices like meditation experience enhanced peace of mind, greater intuition, more harmonious relationships. They also look younger and are significantly healthier.
There are many tools and approaches to plant the seeds of mindfulness and practice gratitude. Here are some ways to reconnect with an attitude of gratitude that you can easily integrate into your life starting today. They can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. You don’t have to do them all at once; make it easy and fun. Pick one or do several of them a week! There’s no better time than the present; it’s a gift. Remember, mindful awareness exercises are just that, practices that are not meant to be perfect. As you cultivate and nurture them, they gain momentum.
Simple Gratitude Exercises
• Smile often.
• Breathe deeply.
• Slow down, enjoy the present moment and trade in the fast track for the happiness track.
• Before getting up each morning and making the bed, set an intention for the day.
• Meditate. Meditation is the express ticket to happiness but the practice takes discipline. Mindfulness without meditation is just a word. Make it a lifestyle.
• Journal. Don’t feel like writing? Start with a one-line-a-day gratitude book or coloring book.
• Create a ‘do nothing’ sacred space in the house.
• Treat people with compassion and kindness. Do small favors for people, expecting nothing in return. The best way one can uplift our own life is to uplift the lives of others.
• Find alignment, not just on the practice mat. Be proud of the decisions and choices that have brought you to this very moment. If the path you are on isn’t working anymore, then make a change.
• Live green. Find things that are sustainable and fulfilling. Branch out and blossom.
• Reach out. Texting and Facebook messaging are great, but try to call at least one family member or friend per day on the phone.
• Spend a few minutes each day contemplating something greater. Reach out and support the community with a helping hand, offer a hug, lend a listening ear, share time, learn about something new, read a book and have lengthy discussions with people.
• Move around and shake off the old energy. Take a walk in nature. Go dancing. Draw a warm bath. Sing out loud.
• Find the opportunity to be a beginner and do something totally different that you’ve never done before.
• Be proactive vs. reactive when faced with challenging situations.
• You are what you eat, so make healthy choices. Try to avoid processed foods. Drink plenty of water.
• Don’t judge or compare with others. Make time to create space for new truths and new experiences.
Simple gratitude practices contain great power. Gratitude equals a great attitude in your heart and allows you to thrive! Welcome them into your daily routine. They will start to shift your attention, change your perspective and offer you support and kindness as they reframe and rewire your life.
Want more tips & tools on how to make your life experiences positive and fruitful one breath at a time? Let’s connect @superstretchyoga