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Developing Gratitude for Health
The practice of gratitude is about acknowledging what is good and expressing thanks and appreciation for the positive things in our lives. Being grateful helps overall health by lowering stress levels, which makes us more hopeful and encourages us to live in the here and now.
Katrina Marie, a holistic sex coach and yoga teacher in Hamilton, Ontario, says we should make gratitude a part of our everyday lives.
“Our attention is powerful. There is so much going on around that we can focus on and it can start to spiral. You know, that negative spiral that you can go on, it attracts more of the same. If we can shift our focus to what's truly amazing in our lives and feel grateful, we feel the effect instantly,” says Marie. “When you pay attention to everything good that's going on in your life, you feel supported, you're not in danger. You're safe, and you're taken care of.”
But how does one start a gratitude practice? Marie suggests picking a time of day when you're most aware, either in the morning or before bed, to write about things that happened in your day that you're feeling thankful about. “Maybe think about three things that you're thankful for and write them down,” says Marie. “It's very powerful to write things down because you're actually putting it in physical form. People might wonder how that could work, but do it for one week before bed. You'll be amazed at how it redirects your focus,” she says. Marie also recommends using the Focus Wheel by Abraham-Hicks where you choose one positive thought after another.
Marie recommends an exercise to feel gratitude for your body: look in the mirror and begin to look for what you like about it. “We're so conditioned to look for what we don't like and want to change, but again, it's about redirecting your focus to what is good and just feel gratitude for it. It might be very hard at first, but stick it out, and find a few things that you like about your body,” Marie says.
In order to develop a gratitude practice, Marie also recommends talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend. “One of the big problems is that we treat ourselves so terribly and we don't realize it. Separate that little voice inside your head from the reality,” she says.
Talking about friends, Marie says that it's important to surround yourself with positive people. And if people constantly talk about negative stuff, you can always redirect the conversation. Marie suggests asking questions like 'What are you happy about in your life?'
“When we put attention on what's painful or bad in our lives, it feels worse than it is. By changing your view of the world, you are raising that collective vibration. Everyone wants to feel good, and redirecting your attention is always an option,” explains Marie.
For yourself, your family and the greater good, developing a gratitude practice is a way to see the silver lining in every situation, one ‘thank you’ at a time.
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