The end of the year is a time to look back at everything you accomplished over the past 12 months, to look forward to the new year, and to be grateful for all of the people and things you’re fortunate enough to have in your life.
Sometimes practicing gratitude is difficult though, especially when life gets rough. When things are hard, being grateful is even harder.
When you find it tough to be grateful, remember that showing gratitude doesn’t have to come in the form of a grand gesture. You don’t even have to acknowledge the big things in your life. As the old saying goes, “it’s the little things.” Sometimes it’s enough to take a moment to be grateful for a glass of cold water, a hot shower, or your favorite shoes.
If you’re wondering how to be grateful, try one of these activities:
1. Go For a Gratitude Walk
This is a great way to get some exercise while thinking about what you’re grateful for. It’s very simple: go for a walk and with each step you take, name something you’re thankful for. This forces you to slow down and pay attention to each step you take, increasing mindfulness, and allows you to think about everything good in your life, no matter how big or small.
2. Gratitude Meditation
Instead of clearing the mind like a normal meditation session, use your meditation time to think about everything you’re grateful for. Visualize each person or item and take a few breaths to concentrate on the individual or object. Taking time to think about things one by one gives you the chance to truly appreciate what each person or item brings to your life.
3. Practice Yoga
Of course yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness, but there are small things you can do to express gratitude during your flow. At the top of your practice, set the intention to appreciate every moment, no matter what. During poses that are held for an extended period, such as pigeon or cat-cow, think about one thing you’re grateful for with each breath. And don’t skip savasana! Relaxation pose is the perfect time to acknowledge your yoga practice and give thanks for everything you have and what your body can do.
4. Try Your Hand at Drawing or Coloring
You don’t have to be an artist to find drawing relaxing! If you don’t know where to start, try drawing or coloring mandalas. Mandalas are beautiful circular or geometric shapes that have long been spiritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism. When you’re drawing or coloring them, the repetitive patterns, colors, and shapes force you to stay in the moment. If you’d rather color than draw, look for adult coloring books with mandalas or free printable coloring pages online. Instead of drawing a mandala, you can also draw a circle and write inside it, “I am grateful for.” Then write the things you’re thankful for outward from the circle, like sun rays, to create your own mandala-like shape.
5. Write Using Gratitude Prompts
Using prompts is a great way to start writing about what you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be in a journal, either! You can always jot it down on a piece of paper. Try the following prompts to get you started and adjust the numbers as you see fit:
- I’m grateful for these three things I hear:
- I’m grateful for these three things I see:
- I’m grateful for these three things I touch/feel:
- I’m grateful for these three friends:
- I’m grateful for these three family members:
- I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
Practice Mindfulness With Us at The Yoga Connection!
Each of our yoga classes in Smithfield, NC give you the opportunity to practice mindfulness and express gratitude. If you would like to learn more about our classes, check out our class calendar or give us a call at 919-971-1431!