Throughout the past couple of months, I have been exploring the deeper meaning and benefits of gratitude. My inspiration to do so began while working in the rehabilitation unit of the hospital. Additionally, my thoughts expanded while reading the article; “How Gratitude Leads to a Happier Life” by Melanie Greenburg from the website “Psychology Today” (go check it out!). My eyes have been opened and I am much more aware of what it means to become more mindful of gratitude and how it can lead to a happier and healthier life.
To incorporate more gratitude into my lifestyle, I keep a gratitude journal to write at least one thing that I am grateful for each day. My favorite time to do this is on my commute home from work every day. Even if it is something as simple as a smile received from a patient, or that first sip of my Starbucks iced coffee that morning, it truly does make me feel better than I did before. This is not something I feel I “have” to do or “should” do, I do it because I simply WANT TO. There is so much to be grateful for on this planet and in this life but sometimes I am guilty of not slowing down to become mindful of it.
I decided to incorporate the concept of gratitude into the therapeutic yoga group that I lead at the hospital. I felt that this would be extremely helpful when guiding those with mental illness disorders. I truly believe that we can always replace anxiety with gratitude. I begin each session by asking each person to introduce themselves and name one thing that they are grateful for. This starts the group out with positive vibes. If there is someone who feels they are not grateful for anything that day, I continue to remind them that we can always be grateful for our breath because it is always available to us.
Another instance I found necessary to incorporate the concept of gratitude was at a family dinner during my trip home for the Fourth of July. Once we all had finished eating I asked my family to go around the table and say one thing that we are grateful for. One thing most definitely turned into about ten but it was very effective and heart-warming. We decided that we would like to start doing this at every dinner!
From observation in both experiences, there was a greater sense of energy. The mood immediately became more positive than it had been prior. This also created greater connection amongst one another. I am confident that a lifestyle focused more on gratitude leads to greater energy amongst oneself. I intend to continue to cultivate gratitude into my life as well assisting others to incorporate it into their lives.