The Power of Gratitude: How to Practice it Every Day With These Simple Yet Effective Tips
This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving - a time of year when many people will spend time with friends and loved ones. They might share a meal or give thanks for all that is good in their life. But why wait until this one time of year? Instead, let us reflect upon how grateful we feel for the people in our lives and the experiences we've had every day. Expressing gratitude should be practiced daily to maintain our health and well-being, just like brushing our teeth. So, this month, we invite you to take a closer look at what giving gratitude can do for our life and the world around us.
Gratitude as Medicine
One of the most beautiful things about Ayurveda is the belief that everything can be medicine. Food and movement are medicine for our physical bodies, meditation for our spiritual bodies, but what about our emotional bodies? That's where gratitude comes into play.
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. By giving and sharing gratitude with the world, we naturally receive it back in return. It's similar to the high you feel after giving someone a thoughtful gift and seeing how happy it made them. It naturally makes you happy in return and can leave you in a positive mood for the rest of the day.
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Gratitude and Our Body
Gratitude has the power to stimulate our hormones by providing medicine for ourselves in the form of a Dopamine release. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good! The simple act of mindfully saying "thank you" to a colleague or your local barista or simply expressing gratitude for everything going well in your life can create an enormous ripple effect. Lifting others up provides them with confidence and gives them the chance to feel grateful in return.
Another hormonal benefit of gratitude is the release of Serotonin – the happiness hormone. To activate this beneficial hormone release, we recommend a simple gratitude practice as follows:
Carve out 5-10 minutes for yourself
Grab a pen and paper and write down five things you are grateful for, or five positives in your life
Gratitude as a Practice
This practice is especially beneficial as we get closer to the Winter Solstice and shorter, darker days. We all know what is going well in our lives, but how often do we sit down to write it all out and truly reflect on it? This simple act of journaling our gratitude every day can release Serotonin, increase our mood and energy levels, and put a smile on our faces. Walking around in this emotional state can be contagious, positively impacting someone else's day.
If we haven't convinced you yet, let's look a little closer at what gratitude does for our Neurological System. When we feel, experience, or receive gratitude, our brain releases Oxytocin. Studies show that Oxytocin is to be the most crucial hormone for social behavior and bonding. It is the same hormone that mothers experience after the birth of their child, which also gets released in their breast milk to feed and nourish their newborn. Talk about medicine for life!
An Attitude of Gratitude
The benefits of gratitude are endless. When we live from a place of gratitude, we ultimately live as if the experience has already happened. We are living as if we're experiencing the space after a desirable event. What a simple medicine for our emotional bodies that can create a ripple effect for others, ultimately drawing in more positive experiences back to us. Like attracts like, and the same goes for gratitude. So pass it around and share it with the world. It's fun (and beneficial for our health)!