By Lisa Frank Miraval Wellness Counselor
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” –Meister Eckhart
This is the season of Thanksgiving and of giving thanks for the bountiful gifts and vast array of life’s blessings we receive throughout the year. This important practice of giving thanks is a practice that could reap much greater benefit by being extended out over the year. This gift of gratitude is a free gift that we can share with ourselves and others. When we allow ourselves to shift our thinking towards the positive we begin to break down barriers, resentments and to open ourselves to feelings of love, peace and compassion. Research is showing that people with consistent gratitude practices demonstrate strengthened immune functioning, lowered blood pressure, higher levels of happiness and joy, healthier relationships and fewer feelings of isolation and depression. As we move into the holiday season, let us become mindful each day of giving thanks and of living in gratitude. Here are some ways to begin.
- Write thank you letters and notes.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Acknowledge at least one gift you have received and offered during your day. These do not have to be material gifts, but rather the gift of a hug, a smile, kind gesture or remarkable sunset.
- Get moving! Take a walk, dance, exercise, practice yoga and as you engage in movement, appreciate all of your physical abilities and strengths.
- Breathe. Receive and rejoice in the gift of breath.
- Meditate. Practice a loving kindness or gratitude meditation.
- Be of service. As we open our eyes and hearts to the suffering of others, not only do we grow our compassion, but we can also realize what we may take for granted and how much we have to be thankful for.
- Express out loud one thing each day that you feel grateful about. Choose something new each day. Often times the most teachable moments, life lessons and opportunities for growth come from adversity, so find the gift of gratitude during turbulent times as well.
- Call an old friend or family member and share your appreciations for their presence in your life.
- Begin each day by saying “Thank You”.
As you get ready to have a happy, fun and safe Thanksgiving remember to pause and become mindful each day of what you have to be thankful about and to notice what it feels like to be living in a state of gratitude. Our blessings are endless, and the more we count them the more aware we become of the abundant offerings the internal and external world around us provides. Thank you for taking the time to read. Happy Thanksgiving!