Gratitude: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
I have been playing with this idea of gratitude in my classes this week. We often times show appreciation for things such as our families, friends, and the roof over our heads. But what about the things we consider so basic? Like having a toothbrush to brush your teeth, a shower to rinse under after a sweaty workout class, or a body to practice yoga? As the holidays approach, we often get so busy that these small things don’t seem to matter. Taking time to express gratitude in a journal every day for a month can increase happiness by 10 percent! According to Amit Amin, “Gratitude makes you a more effective manager, helps you network, increases your decision making capabilities, increases your productivity, and helps you get mentors and proteges.”
When thoughts of fear, resent, or regret come up, can you replace them with things that spark your soul? These negative emotions often get stored in our hips. If your hips are tight, try focusing on the thoughts that arise when you notice the tension in your hips. According to Mind Body Green, gratitude can heighten the immune system and white blood cell count. This will help fight off disease. Gratitude reduces the stress hormone, cortisol by up to 23 percent. It can also improve sleep quality, reduce the time needed to fall asleep, and allow you to sleep for a longer period of time. If you have trouble falling asleep, try experimenting with a list of three things for which you are grateful. Notice if there is a shift.
My challenge to you is that you wake up tomorrow morning, get out a sheet of paper and a pen. Spend 10 minutes writing down all the things for which you’re grateful. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and time with those who love and care about you. But most importantly, thank yourself for showing up, for expressing kindness, and for sharing your love!