It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S.,. A time when we are invited to pause and reflect on who and what we are grateful for in our lives. No better time than this to develop a Gratitude Practice.
What is a Gratitude Practice?
Quite simply, it’s the practice of intentionally acknowledging and expressing your gratitude. Gratitude for people, unexpected grace, lessons learned (even the hard ones!) … anything that has helped to move you forward in life.
I believe that the best practices involve both inner and outer expressions of gratitude.
It starts with inner expressions: Acknowledgment to yourself about what you are grateful for in your life. You might sit in contemplation with the specifics of your thanks, write them in a journal, or capture them in an art project.
Outward expressions then stem from those inner acknowledgements: Communicating your gratitude either directly to the person for whom you are grateful, or sharing your gratitude about something with another person. Either way, you are giving life to your appreciation by voicing it.
The more you practice identifying and expressing your gratitude, you will find that a lightness of being comes your way over time.
Gratitude Practices don’t have to be complicated or long, but they do require your dedicated time and intention. This is why we at BodyMantra are big believers in daily practices; short, focused, regular practices can add up to big changes.
Don’t have your own Gratitude Practice yet? Start simple.
Consider writing out a short sentence that you can speak aloud every day to increase your commitment to expressing appreciation. It can be a general intention or something specific and personal that relates to Gratitude. To bump up the brain-changing, heart-opening power of the process, add one of our essential oils blends to your practice (see below for how I’m using Heart Presence).
We’d love to hear all about your Gratitude Practice! Share with us in the comments below or on Facebook.
My personal practice at the moment includes both a morning and evening practice to bookend the day:
I begin in the morning with an intention to be open-hearted and mindful of all that I can be grateful for throughout the day. I’m using our Heart Presence blend as support, applying it to my heart center and speaking my intention aloud. It takes a whopping 30 seconds, and is already uplifting my days measurably. I’ve been thanking people that I might not normally thank and amping up gratitude expressions to those that I love. And when I’m feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, this practice is helping me to relax, slow down, and return to an attitude of appreciation.
Each evening, I take 5-10 minutes before bed to review my day and specifically name the people and situations for which I am grateful. It always starts with top-of-mind stories … and then I put my attention to things that happened during the day that I might not have had time to fully appreciate in the moment. This practice relaxes me deeply, calms my nervous system, and inevitably leads me to fall asleep with ease.