Gratitude is the simple act of being grateful and thankful for what you have rather than reaching for or seeking something you don’t have that you think will make you happier. In a moment I’d like you to pause, close your eyes, take a deep breath in, sigh it out, then take a minute to think about three things in your life that you are grateful for. They can be the small, big, people, places, experiences, activities, practices… anything. Go on, try it.
Now notice how you feel.
When you are grateful, it's hard to be sad, mad, angry, disappointed, or generally upset. No matter what is happening in your external or internal world. There is a science behind this of course, like cortisol is released in the body when you are stressed, when you are grateful, hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released. Dopamine and serotonin are feel-good hormones, and oxytocin is related to social bonding and connection. It’s the love hormone!
There are vast numbers of studies out there where researchers show that expressing gratitude has numerous benefits, from improving our sleep, willpower, resilience, relationships, levels of optimism, and our overall peace of mind. University of Berkeley researchers show that three months of practicing gratitude letters can lead to changes in the brain, improving our ability to feel and express gratitude, which in turn helps overall wellbeing.
We’re kickstarting 2021 with 21 Days of Gratitude at Digme. Because even in the midst of the chaos, we believe in the power that practising gratitude can have. It takes just 21 days to form a new habit so let’s start together and take our new-found gratitude into 2021 and beyond. Find out more and join in here.
Here are some tips to practice gratitude. While this might seem a bit false of contrived at the start, it will get less so and the more you do it, the easier it will flow and become more natural. And as you notice the benefits, you’ll never want to stop!
- Write a Thank You note
To yourself or to someone who you feel has had a positive impact on your life. Not only will this make you feel good, but it will make them feel loved and appreciated.
- Pause/ Meditate
In those moments where you feel yourself getting anxious or stressed over something that has overwhelmed you, or disappointed you, or made you annoyed, frustrated, instead of getting lost in thoughts and emotions, pause. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and try and put some perspective on the situation by focusing on something positive, something you have to be thankful for. Anytime your mind tries to go back to the negative, notice it, and bring it back to what you are grateful for.\
You could also join Ade, Michael or Georgie F online for a Breathwork session - the perfect class to restore equilibrium mentally, physically and emotionally.
When you wake up write down three things you have to be grateful for. On my yoga retreats I always get people to answer these questions at morning and at night. This practice was shared with me by our own Digme Breathwork teacher Ade. I find it so helpful and all my retreat goers expressed a big benefit from the practice that they took away with them afterwards.
In the morning, write:
3 things to embody for the day
At night before bed, write:
3 joyful moments from the day
3 things you learned for life
If you struggle to be creative here are some gratitude prompts:
What I am grateful for that I get to do today?
What were my favourite moments of the day?
Who helped me today?
Who was kind to me today?
What made me laugh outloud today?
What insight did I gain today?
I’m grateful for 3 things I see:
I’m grateful for 3 things I hear:
I’m grateful for 3 things I smell:
Im grateful for 3 things I touch/feel:
I’m grateful for 3 things I love to eat:
I’m grateful for 3 things I get to experience:
I’m grateful for 3 people in my life:
Join me LIVE on @digmefitness IG Stories at midday on Sunday 3rd January for a 15 minute introduction workshop to Gratitude - I'll also be setting you a task for you first 7 days!
Thank you for reading,
Head of Yoga