What are you grateful for today? Right now, what do you have in your life that you can be truly, honestly grateful for? If you're sitting in the UK, you already have quite a lot to be thankful for. Running water, heating, a roof over your head, the sort of things we take for granted on a daily basis, yet would be such a luxury to many, many others.
I'm not here to make you feel guilty. Running water doesn't necessarily lead to feelings of overwhelming joy, I'll admit. But the practice of being grateful every day, of saying thank you for all that you have, can have a profound effect on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Think of something you are grateful for right now. Perhaps you had a delicious breakfast, perhaps you have a great weekend to look forward to, perhaps you are sitting in a coffee shop enjoying some gorgeous hot drink concoction. Whatever it is, try saying the following words a few time, out loud or silently it doesn't matter: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Pause. Think about this thing that you are grateful for again. Really start to appreciate it. Think about why you are grateful for it. And then again repeat: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Start to feel as though this thanks is coming directly from your heart. Imagine your heart is filling with joy, as though you can feel warmth and joy expanding from the heart space. And again, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This simple practice can completely change your day, and if you do it all the time it can certainly change your life.
What are you thinking right now? Are you currently radiating in gratitude for your coffee/your weekend/your chocolate croissant? Or are you sitting there thinking this is a load of rubbish, your life is currently in a mess, how could I have any idea how hard things are for you right now? Or perhaps you simply don't know how to radiate warmth and love from your own heart and you feel ashamed or guilty?
Whatever your experience, I want you to consider these two things: 1. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts, and that includes how you to react to being asked to be grateful. If you don't know, just be curious (not ashamed or guilty). And if you don't think it's possible right now? Remember this, point 2, gratitude is a practice and so IT TAKES PRACTICE.
When I was much, much younger, my life felt pretty tough. I never had enough money, I was struggling with the loss of my grandparents at the same time of trying to figure out how to live in an adult world. I felt like I was watching my friends go to the pub, find boyfriends, plan their careers and choose university degrees whilst I struggled to pay electricity bills and feed myself (and the cat, who had exceedingly refined tastes when it came to brands of cat food). I didn't feel at the time that I had much to be grateful for. And life was hard, sure, but what I also knew was that I was lucky. I had a roof over my head, I lived in a country which (at the time) supported people like me through college, and I was able to get to uni, a struggle as it may have been. I honestly feel now that those hardships in my life were so essential to my journey. I do not believe I would be sitting here, in my beautiful home with my wonderful boyfriend surrounded by the teachings of yoga, if it wasn't for the hardships I endured earlier on.
I KNOW if you're in the middle of hardship, it's not easy to find gratitude. I know it can be huge irritating to have someone else - who seems to have it all - tell you to be grateful. But I share this with you because I have been there. I have struggled, and toiled, and worried and fretted. Hell, I still do now - until I catch myself, and then I remember to simply say thank you. Until we are grateful for what we have now, we cannot be ready to welcome more in.
So go on. Do it. You could even write down EVERYTHING you are grateful for. Once you get started you could surprise yourself at how much there is to be thankful for.