Not long ago I read in a book* that feeling grateful is easy when everything in our lives is going well. Much more challenging is to be grateful when things aren’t going the way we think they should. When we are out of a job, going through difficult breakup or dealing with health issues, gratitude is the last thing it would occur to us.
A wonderful quote from Zig Ziglar says:
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
Time gives us the perspective to see the obstacles we overcame as lessons from which we learn. Acceptance is in the present.
Here are five simple ways to exercise gratefulness and make it a habit:
1. Develop a daily ritual
Immediately after you wake up or just before going to bed, sit comfortably, close your eyes and reflect on three things (people, things, life events, states, etc.) for which you have a sense of gratitude, and you’re happy they are or were in your life.
2. Get a gratitude symbol
Assign this value to a physical object: a rock, a candle, an image, an amulet, etc. and place it somewhere around the house. Whenever you see this object recall the idea of gratitude.
3. Start a gratitude journal
Be specific. Write five things about something or someone you’re grateful for.
4. Meditation or visualization
Set yourself in comfortable position (do not lie on the floor if you tend to falling asleep easily). You can also light a candle, play relaxing music or simply stay in silence. Meditate about what you are thankful for.
5. Practice asanas that embody thankfulness
Open your heart with poses like Cobra (Bhujangasana) and Camel pose (Ustrasana) to cultivate gratitude. Surrender in Extended Child’s pose (Balasana) or adopt Supine Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana) to nurture acceptance.
Thanks to what it is now. What do you feel grateful for?
*Hay, Louise L. 1996: Gratitude: A Way of Life. Croydon, England: Hay House.