November, the national month of gratitude. Over hundreds of years we have used this month to say thanks to all the abundance that has been reaped from the harvest and give thanks for the blessings that fill our lives. Gratitude is the practice of showing appreciation for the good things in your life. When practicing gratitude you are acknowledging and accepting the goodness in your life as an affirmation.
So, why is practicing gratitude important? The universal law of attraction is that what you put out is attracted back to you. This idea is to be taken with a grain of salt, but what it gets at is that the human mind & our perspective are very powerful. When you start to notice the goodness in your life through the practice of gratitude, that abundance is multiplied, shining light and echoing more abundance into your life. As humans, we often find ourselves falling into lack spirals. One thing goes wrong, next thing we know we are listing everything in our life that isn’t going right. How do we protect ourselves from these lack spirals and toxic patterns? Attitude of Gratitude!
Let’s get something straight, Gratitude is not spiritual bypassing or avoiding the hard or bad things going on in your life. Gratitude is acknowledging the bad but also acknowledging the good. Our lows are important, and need to be felt, processed, and acknowledged. Our lows contrast our highs so that we can feel and acknowledge the highs. This is the magic of duality and the balance of life. One cannot exist without the other, gratitude keeps the sacred balance between the two. We tend to let the little things that aren’t going right in our life like the health issues, relationship problems, or losses pollute and poison our minds. When in comparison we usually have so much to be grateful for that we forget to acknowledge. Gratitude helps us step back when life gets hard and remember there is always a duality.
Over the past decade, many studies have been done on gratitude and how it can improve people’s lives. A study done at Harvard University with over 200 people found that over the course of one month, the people who wrote a daily gratitude list before bed were overall happier at the end of the study than those who did not. We’ve decided to put together a list of the benefits of gratitude so you can truly understand the life changing effects that such a simple practice can have on your mind, body, and spirit.
1. Gratitude creates new social connections. Through showing gratitude to the people and things in your life it creates strong connections based around respect and appreciation.
2. Gratitude improves psychological health. A study done by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a gratitude researcher who conducted studies on the link between gratitude and well being confirms that Gratitude increases happiness levels and decreases stress and depression.
3. Gratitude helps people sleep better at night. Multiple studies have found that practicing gratitude helps us fall asleep faster and allows our brains to fall into deeper sleepcycles, so that we feel more rested.
4. Gratitude breaks toxic brain patterns.
5. Gratitude reduces social comparison and increases self esteem. Studies showed that rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem – grateful people are more easily able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
Gratitude is a practice of finding the silver lining and lessons in situations, counting your blessings, and soaking up the abundance that is already readily all around you.
The Bala Yoga #15daysofgratitude Challenge
From November 14-28 Bala will be holding a Gratitude challenge to help you start a Gratitude practice. Each day, post to your Instagram feed or story & share anything you want about gratitude (ie. something you’re grateful for, thoughts about your relationship to gratitude, your gratitude journal…). Tag @balayoga + #15daysofgratitude in each post, so we can see what you share. At the end of the challenge, one winner will be selected to win our prize package including: (1) free workshop at Bala Yoga, (1) 60 minute complimentary Boundaries & Balance coaching consultation with @serenalaursenlifecoach, (1) Bala Yoga Candle + (1) Koala Yoga Mat Tote. We are so grateful for this community and can’t wait to give back in helping you fill up your cup this holiday season!
Written by Alex Callahan ( @alexcallahan4 )