Yoga is not restricted to the mat – rather it is a way of life. I have decided to make more of an effort trying to make sure I include my practice as often as possible throughout the day. Part of that has become practicing gratitude. This time of the year, the tradition of Thanksgiving comes to the front of people’s minds. Thanksgiving is one day to give special thanks for the harvest and the preceding year. One day. Don’t all of us have a little more in our lives to be thankful for? Every day?
What Gratitude really is
Sweet and short, gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness. It means noticing even the tiniest things in your life and appreciating them, being thankful for everything that you have and count it as a blessing. You see, gratitude can be labeled a feeling of appreciation, but in fact, it is much more than that.
It is a way of looking at life. In times where we all tend to focus on all negative things happening and set our mind to improving, enhancing and innovating everything around us, this little yet powerful habit guarantees new perspectives on the things and people around you.
Why Practice Gratitude
I initially started to gratitude practice because I got more and more irritated by myself and people around me complaining all the time! We complain about everything: the poor Wifi-connection, our phones being too slow, the bus being three minutes late, our food being cold, everything but real and actual problems.
I continuously caught myself complaining about such little and unimportant things and noticed how much power they had over my mood and well-being. Apart from reminding myself to surrender to life’s happenings without prompt judgment, I wanted to reset my focus and at least try to think of three things every day that I am especially grateful for. Sounds easy? Well, I had to see for myself that it’s anything but easy.
How To Practice Gratitude
There are days where I jump out of bed because I am super excited about everything lying ahead of me. Then, these three things come to my mind easily. But then there are these other days. You know, days where I snooze my alarm three times and I still don’t feel like leaving my warm and comfy bed. Maybe because I had an argument the other day, or maybe simply because I feel like I’m lacking sleep. On those days, I find myself on my meditation cushion having real troubles thinking of just three tiny little things in my life that I am grateful for.
Looking at this from a little distance, makes it almost seem ridiculous. All I want to think of is three things, no matter what, and remind myself that it’s not natural to have. How can choosing three things out of your whole entire life to be thankful for so difficult?
Those days where I cannot wrap my head around something to give a little extra appreciation, I say thanks to myself for at least trying. I cannot expect a change in my life’s perspectives after two months of including gratitude in my practice. Because in the end, it is not just a feeling of appreciation. It is overcoming your inner critics and realizing that even the day ahead of you has been given to you. It is a gift and so is everything that comes with it, may it be pleasant or unpleasant. There is purpose in everything.
Let everyday be a Thanksgiving Day!