Mindfulness and Gratitude: 6 Amazing Ways to Start being Mindful Right Now
Investigations in neuroscience have proved, adding gratefulness to the practice of mindfulness enhances it manifold. Happiness is no longer a philosophical or mystical search
The art of being mindful of one’s own thoughts and actions is a highly desirable skill that can enhance our live in countless ways. Research has shown that we can, with these ancient techniques, turn our lives around completely.
Investigations in neuroscience have proved, adding gratefulness to the practice of mindfulness enhances it manifold. Happiness is no longer a philosophical or mystical search. Science is now deeply involved in its search. Prestigious universities are dedicating their experimenting towards the findings of this seemingly utopian state.
And befitting as it is, modern research points us back to ancient wisdom in this search of the elusive. The ancient science of yoga recommends meditation, now often called mindfulness, as a sure path to happiness. Various techniques can be applied. Bringing gratefulness to the ancient practices, said to emerge from the Indus Valley civilization in India, adds yet another dimension to its benefits.
Here are a few practices that you can try. Choose one or try all of these practices for a few weeks.
1 - Upon waking up
Prana or life force is our greatest gift. Of what use this world or our achievements without it?
Become mindful of your breath, first thing upon waking up, with gratitude towards the universe for yet another glorious day. Bring to mind the beauty of this earth, your home. Think of its myriad riches that serve to feed, clothe, & keep you safe from the intemperie.
As you turn to get up from your bed and place your feet on the floor, touch first the Earth with your hand. Take your hands then in front of your heart and joining your palms offer gratitude as you place your feet on the floor.
With this simple practice you are learning to start your day on a positive note and restructuring your entire nervous system.
2 - In the shower
While you get body and mind ready for the day ahead, invigorate yourself with a quick shower.
As you feel the water flow over you, become mindful of the Earths abundance and her countless water bodies. Rivers and glaciers, streams and lakes, seas and oceans. Envision yourself under a beautiful waterfall in nature and become mindful of gratitude welling up in your heart.
3 - Before meals
Food, fuel to our life force, is precious, allowing our bodies and minds to recover from wear and tear and stress and anxiety. Unfortunately not everyone has access to food. Become mindful of the more unfortunate and recite a soft gentle prayer for them in your heart.
As you sit down to your meal become mindful of the Earths generosity, the sunlight and the rains that allowed this food to grow. With gratitude become mindful of the farmers who cared for it and the many entrepreneurs who worked to transport it to you. Offer thanks to the hands that cooked and prepared the food so that your body can easily assimilate the nutrients it needs.
Yogis offer a prayer or mantra to the Earth Goddess of Abundance, Annapurna, known as the Annapurna Gayatri:
“Om bhagavatyai cha vidmahe maheshvaraayai ca dhimahi,
Tanno annapurnaa prachodayaat”
4 - While Walking
This practice is best done in a safe, traffic free environment as it may interiorise the senses. In busy streets one needs the senses to be sharp and alert, so please choose a place like a park for this.
Just for a few moments, while walking to work — or anywhere else — become mindful of your feet touching the ground, as you place them gently on the ground one after the other. Let gratitude arise within you, for the simple reason of being alive. Drink in the green of the plants, the colours of flowers, the music of birds and the pure fresh air while taking each step. With gratitude be mindful of this delicate and amazing ecosystem that you are an integral part of.
5- At Work
However stressful or anxious your workday may be today, take a few deep breaths as you sit down to start your day. Become mindful of your own inner strengths and resilience. Know that you have all the talent you need to overcome difficulties. All you need is a calm and focused mind.
Become mindful of all those who are without jobs and who might be in dire need. Say a soft prayer for them. Be grateful for this opportunity you have, however challenging. And remember challenges, if handled with calm and composure can be your stepping stone towards transformation.
Yogis often say, it’s the challenges that life throws at us and not the comforts, that are her greatest gifts.
6 - At Bedtime
Keep a few moments for yourself just before you sleep. You can either sit up in bed or lie down. Become mindful of the day that just went by and it’s events. If possible in a sequential manner, from waking up, to now.
Bring to mind the events that didn’t go as you would have liked. Spend a minute or two thinking how you would better handle them in the future. Know that you have all the resources within to do so.
Become mindful of all the happy and joyous events and moments spent with your loved ones Offer gratitude for all these experiences.
Now let go of all thoughts and abandon mind and body to serenity and peace. Invite them into your room and into your being, so your body and mind can rest and rejuvenate in the soft comfort of your home.