Our brains are wired to notice negative events, strong or unpleasant emotions, negative traits, and potential dangers. This negativity bias is one of our most basic survival skills. In today’s modern world this is rarely serving us for survival but because it is our propensity to do so what can end up happening is we pull ourselves into a self perpetuating negative thinking pattern. Negative thinking can have consequences against our wellbeing by affecting our mood and actions. Finding balance in our thinking can benefit our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Researchers are finding that a gratitude practice can help foster a deeper sense of connection and greater compassion. Yogis are finding that a regular gratitude practice is a path leading to Santosha, or contentment. A gratitude practice can be cultivated to each individual’s personal experience and takes just a little bit of focus.
Step one: Notice physical sensations, texture of breath, and the five senses.
Step two: Name something that is working in your life (no matter how basic it may seem) or something that you can find joy in (such as your amazing pet or the stars at night).
Step three: Again, take note of physical sensations and texture of breath.
Step four: Find a time every day to do this little exercise. Spread this sense of gratitude and let it begin conversations, plant the seeds for those around you to notice and enjoy.
Cultivating an awareness of gratitude is truly a practice and not always easy, but always rewarding.