I think it must be this time of year - the smell of Spring in the air, the longer days, the warm sunshine beginning to melt the mountains of snow... this feeling of gratitude washed over me this week, and I feel truly alive and invigorated once again. It put everything into perspective for me, after struggling a bit with anxiety lately. It centered me once again, and I feel calm and optimistic and "well" again, just like that.
Gratitude can really do wonders for your whole day and your whole life, can't it? It's truly the only thing that will ever make us happy. And more gratitude just continues to bring more happiness. It can create space in our minds and hearts; it can stop stress and worry and anxiety in its tracks; it can diminish our Ego and elevate our Being.
The practice of gratitude as a key element in living well has been known since the beginning of time; every religion is based on it and almost every philosopher has guided us to it. And yet we still need reminders to keep doing it, unless we make it a habit. It shouldn't take the advent of Spring or a traumatic event or witnessing someone's else's pain to jolt us into being grateful. If we do it mindfully on a daily basis, everything - the world - will open up for us.
There is no right or wrong way to practice gratitude - it may be writing little notes to loved ones, journaling, praying, mindful walks in nature, or simply saying 'thank-you' to someone every day. The key word, though, is PRACTICE. Just like with anything, the more you do it, the easier and more automatic it becomes. You just need to discover what works for you and do it daily.
And so I share with you these articles and a few other fun and useful tools and links in the hope that they will help you find a way to cultivate gratitude daily, and make more space to be mindfully aware of all of the wonderful things around you that you have to be grateful for.
1. Last year I wrote about How to Cultivate Gratitude at Home with 5 things you can do at home to spark the gratitude habit.
2. Mindfulness and gratitude go hand-in-hand, and so if you need help being more mindful of things around you to be grateful for, here's a Meaningful Mindfulness Guide for Beginners.
3. A dedicated space for meditation and gratefulness can help. Check out How to Create a Simple Home Meditation Space.
4. Gratitude helps with living more in the present, and this article, 4 Steps to Letting Go of the Past can help you understand how.
5. This enlightening article on the 7 Dimensions of Wellness was forwarded to me by a friend this week and the dimension of Spiritual Wellness includes feeling grateful, and is a big part of holistic wellness.
6. It's Not Just About What You Say, It's About How You Live is a short and interesting article about how our behaviour and even gestures are all part of a gratitude practice.
7. I've been using the Calm app for guided meditation and even just for calming nature background sounds lately. It's wonderful.
8. My favourite new artist - Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People - make me grateful for music and talent and my hearing and many other things. Take a listen to Aloha Ke Akua and Budding Trees...two of many great songs.
9. This post I wrote a few years back still resonates with me when I think about how Home is Where the Heart Is.