It seems as though October flew by and now we find ourselves amidst the holiday season! As we invite the month of November into our lives, we can’t help but think of Thanksgiving and the transformative power of gratitude. And while we have Thanksgiving to pause and celebrate the bounty in our lives, at Longwave Yoga we strive to practice the art of gratitude every single day, both on and off the mat. We call this Thanksliving!
What is gratitude?
“Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” (Harvard)
Gratitude is the key to happiness.
As the Buddha once said, “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think”. Being grateful for what we do have in our lives and for exactly who we are right now is one of the most powerful ways to create joy and abundance, regardless of circumstances. If we can find just one or two things to feel grateful for in our lives, especially when we are going through a tough time, chances are our whole perception on the situation transforms into something optimistic and meaningful.
There is proof!
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can have a tremendously positive effect on our lives – it can even change the structure of our brains! A Business Insider article, written by Eric Barker, presented the findings of UCLA neuroscientist Alex Korb of four spiritual rituals that create happiness. The number one action to take when feeling down was in fact to ask yourself what you’re grateful for! Barker relays this message via The Upward Spiral saying, “It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look for it in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence… Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life”. It even produces those feel good chemicals in your body – serotonin and dopamine!
Try it out for yourself!
1. We like to begin and end each day with writing down three things we are grateful for in our lives – whether that’s waking up each day with new breath, for a friend’s loving support, or for the peacefulness we find on our mats. If you find yourself in a challenging situation, perhaps thinking of three ways this challenge can be an opportunity will start to get the wheels turning. These affirmations can truly be anything that you feel thankful for. And remember, even just the act of trying is enough!
2. Join Lexi for the Gratitude Flow on Thursday, November 22 for a A 90-minute heart-opening practice, to help us recognize and give thanks for the blessings in life! The journey of life is constructed of many different types of relationships, and gratitude is essential in maintaining peaceful and respectful connections with all beings. We come together on Thanksgiving morning to recognize the value in each other and all beings. Celebrate, meditate, and recalibrate your gratitude!