What are you grateful for?
“Cheer up, look on the bright side!” is possibly one of the most irritating things you can hear when you’ve had a crappy day.
It’s so easy to focus on disappointments and annoyances. Not getting that pay rise; being caught in the rain after just getting your hair did; when the traffic is horrendous and you miss your favourite show. Fortunately for us, it’s also easy to start practicing some gratitude. Being thankful is a choice that we can make; to push aside the feelings of annoyance and focus on all the good things we’ve got going on. It’s not that we’re ignoring or forgetting our problems, it’s just that we’re not letting them consume our lives and affect us in a negative way.
We can use gratitude to celebrate our lives; reflecting on the seemingly insignificant moments in our day and cherishing them, being thankful for them and reflecting on their magnitude. Being grateful is also good for us, with studies showing that performing small acts of gratitude regularly can reduce depression and increase our general sense of wellbeing.
Four ways to practice gratitude
Keep a gratitude diary. At the end of every day, write down at least three things that you’re grateful for. Here are mine for today: the yoga class that I taught this morning, the delicious meal that my fiancé just cooked for me and the lovely glass of Pinot Noir that I’m drinking! Taking that time to contemplate the good things increases our happiness and positivity. Kikki K do a beautiful range of gratitude diaries, and it can be so nice to flip back through the pages and remember the events and people that have made you most grateful.
Incorporate gratitude into your yoga class. I like to think of someone that I’m thankful to have in my life and dedicate my practice to them.
Write a letter of thanks. When was the last time you wrote a letter, or better yet, received a letter from somebody? They are so much more personal than emails, text messages or Snapchats! Write a note to someone important to you that you’ve never taken the time to properly thank, it will be so special for them.
Give back. What better way to be appreciative of what you have than to donate your time or money to a charitable cause? Think about the problems around you that you want to solve, be it bullying, homelessness, domestic violence or abuse, and find a local charity that supports those causes and helps people in need.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that we can have, not just because it impacts us but because of the effects that it has on the people around us when we practice it. I'm going to end with a quote from one of my all time favourite books, and I hope these words make you smile as much as I do when I remember them: