Escapism is an art. We enjoy a glass (or 4) of wine after work or binge watch Netflix. We fill our virtual shopping baskets with items we don’t need. We dream of far-off places in utopia to escape our daily reality. We try to fill that emptiness inside us with excess which may lead to self-destructive habits.
Do we really need to escape our realities to find happiness or is it possible to be be happy in the present moment? The answer is “yes”. We can learn to find happiness in our every day realities without the need for escape.
As yoga teachers, we are taught the wonderful truth that if we want to experience elation, we should learn to live in the present moment. To enjoy the pleasures in life, to experience love and harmony, we must be here in the moment. Like any new skill, living in the present takes practice but it is possible and it will increase the quality of our everyday lives.
Yoga and meditation in any form can empower you with true feelings of joy and happiness. Rather it is safe to say that the hours spent outside the mat help you connect to your inner self most magically and show you the hidden places of joy. If you choose an approach of gratitude for your life, it is the most heightened form of meditation. But do you know how to initiate the gratitude mindset?
Here is a list of six things that can help you develop gratitude for even the smallest things instead of the grass-is-greener approach that we most often dwell into.
1. Practice it daily.
Just like you practice yoga, you need to remind yourself daily of all that you have, as this is effective in being grateful. The more consistently you do this; whether it is in the form of journaling or meditation; the more helpful it will be in rewiring your brain cells to a mindset of gratitude, rather than a comparative, or judgmental one.
2. Be grateful for the littlest things.
People always tend to look at the bigger picture and appreciate the more obvious things. But it never harms if you look deeper into the details, as this is where gratitude reaches the brim. There is too much power in the little details that are often overlooked.
The more details you dig for, the more strength your gratitude will have. It is when you focus on these little aspects of life, that you appreciate the blessings in a wider context.
3. Be grateful for even the things that seem bad or awry.
It is easy to be happy and grateful for the greener pastures, and happy-go-lucky people. But what about the rough patches? Can you be grateful for them too? Do you have the ability to see through them, and learn from them, although there seems little better about them? After years of practicing yoga, I can conclude that nothing in life comes to you; everything is a reflection of your state of mind. Things are not as they seem, this is why people who practice meditation don’t let their emotions spiral outward during challenging times.
4. Begin and end your day with a prayer of gratitude.
Even if it is just a prayer a day, make it one of gratitude. There is no better way to begin and end your day, as you are setting the pace for yourself. This practice enables you to start your day with acceptance, peace, and happiness for all that you have instead of feeling for things that you don’t have.
5. List of three.
Make a list of three things that you are grateful for at the end of the day. It is good to share this with someone else and see how this experience expands. Watch this happiness grow as you share the experiences that brought you immense joy throughout the day, and also notice how you want to share more and more things in this respect. Instead of complaining about things that you don’t have, you will learn to accept your life and your current situation to reap maximum happiness.
6. Document your journey.
This one is vital as it can help you navigate through troubled waters on not-so-perfect days. Make it a habit to journal at night, as this will enable you to sleep peacefully, with positive reinforcement for the next day. Another thing that you can do is share your gratitude with the ones whose love you cherish. Let them know how you feel for them, again and again. You don’t know the way you could be uplifting their lives with your deep-felt words, and don’t you think everyone deserves to hear that?
Being grateful doesn’t mean that you settle in life with what you have. You can still aim high, but now your feet are firmly fixed to the soil in this fast-paced ever-changing world. Indulging into the little details of being grateful for all that you have will help you attract all the goodness and positivity in your life.
Gratitude is not monotonicity, but it enables you to appreciate what you have here in the present. Be grateful for all the good things and more so for the ones that didn’t go your way. Winning and losing isn’t everything; there is a lesson that every experience teaches you, and this is what you should be grateful for.
If you choose to be grateful for all that you have in your life, be sure that you are on sound footings of your existence. You are at liberty to choose what you see around yourself. The energy you radiate into the universe will bounce back at you. So it is wise to surround yourself with gratitude, happiness, and beauty, as this is the path we all want to tread on.
Go ahead, and start your day with meditation, or start writing a gratitude journal, or share the three things that make you happy every day with your loved ones. No matter what path you choose, you are on the right path to experiencing joy and bliss. When you are happier, more present, and more peaceful, you will notice more abundance will follow. And this is all that we strive for, abundance in everything we love.