Dana Santas, Certified Strength Training Specialist, Mind-Body Trainer in Professional Sports and Book Author “Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief” shared a 5-day hands-on gratitude course and how the practice of gratitude can positively affect your life.
Many studies show that the practice of gratitude increases feelings of happiness and life satisfaction while also reducing the symptoms of depression. Scientists have also found that practicing gratitude on a daily basis improves relationships and increases self-esteem.
Being grateful every day of your life is a spiritual skill that needs to be trained. You can start developing this skill with the five-day gratitude course below.
Day 1: Focus on Your Five Senses
Too often, people focus on material things that are associated with status. Being grateful for material things is fine, but research shows that materialism is associated with lower life satisfaction and an inability to feel grateful. To focus on the simplest yet truly valuable aspects of our lives, we begin our practice by expressing gratitude for one of our five senses: vision.
Take a notebook and complete the following sentence in it:
“Today I am grateful for these three things that I saw …”.
Your answers can be very simple: my reflection in the mirror, my husband, or the sunset.
Take time each night to write down 3 reasons why you were grateful for what you saw, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted today.
Day 2: Develop a sense of gratitude with every breath
We all know that there is no life without breath. And just for the fact that you breathe and live, you can be grateful. To do this, you need to do a simple gratitude meditation with ten breaths:
Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your eyes closed. Place your hands on your knees or lower ribs. Begin breathing in and out through your nose, slowing your breathing down to the pace you feel most comfortable with. Take a deep breath and think about what a miracle it is. – breathe. Imagine how each breath fills your entire body with life.
Then imagine a color that you associate with gratitude and let it fill your mind’s eye as you inhale.
As you exhale, imagine that this color of gratitude spreads through your body and fills your neck, chest and torso, comes out of your legs and arms and dissolves into space with the exhalation.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Day 3: Think about the pros of adversity
Reflect on a particularly difficult period in your life that you perceive as tragedy, failure, or mistake. Identify 3 circumstances that have resulted from this experience that you can truly value.
Day 4: Express gratitude to others in writing
Send a small text to the three people you are grateful to. Write down why they are special to you, how much you love and value them. Writing thank-you letters will not only improve the mood of the addressees, but will also have a positive effect on the author – it will increase the feeling of happiness and satisfaction with life.
Day 5: Pay attention to the little things
Verbally acknowledge at least twice when someone has done you a favor or shown you kindness. There are many people in our life who do something to meet our needs. This could be a salesperson in a store, a colleague at work, or a family member.
Research shows that the positive effects of gratitude extend to both the giver and the receiver, which is especially important in romantic relationships. Partners can express gratitude to each other for little things to strengthen the relationship.
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