The Gratitude Bridge
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
At the end of a yoga class, just before we bow in Namaste, I like to gently remind the class to be grateful for their body, to be grateful for their breath, and to be grateful for their day ahead.
Because it helps to be reminded that we are far more critical of our amazing bodies than we should be. It also helps to remember that the natural life support system we call ‘breathing’ is not something we should take for granted. And being reminded that another day alive is a wonderful and special gift, can completely change our perspective at the beginning of a new day.
In a nutshell, being thankful makes us feel better.
But what about when we are stuck in a stressful situation, or a negative frame of mind? How easy is it to be grateful then?
Think about it as crossing a bridge, and taking one step in front of another. You might not feel sincerely grateful for anything in the beginning, but the more you practice, the the better you will feel. When practiced regularly, gratitude can be used as a tool to keep us in a positive frame of mind, or to change the thought patterns swirling through our minds when things get us down. Gratitude can even be used as a way to train our brain to develop better habits and to create a healthier future.
So what do I mean by practicing gratitude exactly?
Well, it's the practice of being thankful, of quite literally "counting your blessings," both by taking note of things, feelings and situations to be grateful for; and expressing that gratitude to others when applicable. Sounds easy right, but it can be challenging too — in that, we have to put in a regular effort toward thinking about what's awesome in our life, as opposed to what is not.
Maybe you’re grateful for your favorite music, or for the electricity that lights up your life. Maybe you’re grateful for your pet, for your child, your loved ones. For your eyes that enable you to see, and your ears that enable you to hear. Maybe you’re grateful for your imagination. Maybe you’re grateful that you can think, that you can speak, that you can laugh and smile. Maybe you’re grateful that you have work and a roof over your head, that you have food to eat, and clean water to drink. Maybe you’re grateful that you can breathe, that your body can move, and that you are alive!
It starts a bit like that. And then the feeling grows and grows.
Say ‘thank you’ (quietly or out loud, the choice is yours) for seven people, situations or feelings you have in life right now, and feel your frame of mind change for the better by the 7th.
Tip: The more you practice gratitude, the more of an impact it will have on your state of mind. So try to associate a certain time of the day, or task, with being thankful. Like each time you go up the stairs, or each time you walk your dogs, or each time you wash the dishes … use that time to remember what you are grateful for.
Have yourself an awesome day :)