3 Ways to Find Gratitude Everyday
I took a class last week that started off with a meditation on gratitude. The teacher asked us to think about what makes us feel grateful. Who makes us feel grateful? What have we done lately that we can be grateful for? It was a beautiful way to begin a yoga class, and I left feeling filled up, buoyant, and obviously: extremely grateful.
The idea behind the meditation was simple: What if we allowed ourselves to identify not with what stresses us out or makes us feel lack, but rather with the abundance in our lives, and with what we are thankful for right now, today? So much of our day is spent focusing on what we don't have, or what doesn't go right. Thoughts like, "Of course, I'm running late, I have so much work to do, this day is going to be awful." or "My week was so hard, everything went wrong, and my significant other doesn't even care." or "That person is so good at yoga, I'll never be able to do that." Any time we allow our circumstances to become a bad experience, we are condemning ourselves by creating negativity from what is actually just a neutral event.
How do we escape this mindset? First, we recognize it. Whenever we realize we are having these thoughts we can stop, take a breath, and replace the bad attitude with gratitude. Ask yourself these three questions the next time you find yourself feeling stressed or lacking.
1. What can you appreciate from this day?
Take a moment to visualize both the big and small things that you can be thankful for in this moment. Things as simple as the fact that you woke up alive today, with a roof over your head, and food on the table. Sometimes we take these big ones for granted, and reminding ourselves how privileged we are is both humbling and rewarding. Think about the small things that you are thankful for in your life. Maybe your co-workers make you laugh, or someone complimented you, or you finally touched your toes in yoga. The little things are just as important as the big ones, and focusing on these small moments of happiness and progress can easily build up your gratitude count for the day.
2. Who are you thankful for?
Mom, Dad, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Husband, Wife, Best Friend, Sister, Brother, Family, Friends, Teachers. There are a million people in your life that add to who you are and help you become the best version of yourself. There are times when we are all guilty of taking these people for granted. Filling your mind up with memories of the humans that support and care for you is an instant way to feel gratitude. You can do this anywhere, any time. Think of all the good qualities these people possess. Remember why you are thankful for them: they are the ones that love you, take care of you, make you laugh, bring out the best in you, challenge you, talk with you, and make you feel special. Most importantly, remember to give all of that back to them.
3. When was the last time you were grateful for yourself?
We often overlook the number one thing in our lives when being thankful: ourselves. What have you today for YOU? What about YOURSELF are you grateful for? Be thankful for the body that you have that does all these amazing things for you. Be thankful that you have chosen a positive mindset over a negative one. Be grateful that you can treat yourself with kindness and respect and love. Treating ourselves well is so crucial to our well-being, and it's something we can absolutely appreciate. Take a moment to visualize yourself. You know better than anyone all your flaws, and also all your strengths. Focus on those strengths and thank yourself for being exactly who you are and for choosing self-growth, self-reflection, and self-love.
What are you grateful for? Are there other ways you find gratitude? Let us know below!