Presence And Gratitude: Simple Habits For A Life Of Happiness
The season of gratitude is upon us! It got me thinking about the power of feeling thankful, and how it can empower us to live as our best selves, in the present moment.
Without mindfulness, it can be easy to slide into the absence trap. Perhaps you can relate? Our minds race at a million miles an hour, darting from the past to the future. We dwell on our previous missteps, and worry about things that might not even come to be! The problem with making a habit out of these sorts of thought patterns, is that we end up on missing out on what truly matters. As this year's Thanksgiving approaches, allow the holiday's central message to permeate your habitual thinking. Because, with gratitude, we can ensure that we stay anchored in the present, and don't miss a beat!
Many things can act as pitfalls that land us in the absence trap. The constant tug of social media is a masterful imp when it comes to stealing our focus away from simple pleasures, and moments with the people around us. The challenges we face in our lives can lead us to get stuck anxiously scanning the horizon. We look right over the top of all of the delicious little details that living in the now has to offer.
So, how can we break this cycle, and begin a new one? Thankfully, (you see what I did there!) some small practices can pull us right back into ourselves. Gratitude and presence feed into each other incredibly efficiently. So, from a small act of intention, momentum can build on it's own. Tiny adjustments can open our eyes to the wonder of the day unfolding around us!
Practice Connecting With Your Senses
When our minds are racing, we don't give much thought to the miraculous vehicle that is carrying us around. Our bodies are loaded with sensory capacity, ready to take in every little thing, in any given moment. Allow yourself to feel awe at what you are capable of, and use that body of yours to reconnect with your surroundings! If you tend to drift into absence all too often, then it's time to cultivate a practice of self-engagement.
Start by placing both feet flat on the floor and soaking up the sensations that your feet reveal. Connect with the solid floor beneath you, and then close your eyes and listen. What can you hear? Put your hand on your chest, and tune in to the rhythm of your breathing. What can you smell? I appreciate that you might feel a little odd in this moment, but ask yourself, how often do you take the time to engage with all of your senses? Your body is amazing: take the time to experience it! I guarantee that when you open your eyes, you will feel a stronger sense of presence, and self-appreciation.
Next time you have a moment to spare, rather than reaching for your smart phone, take a minute to absorb everything that's happening around you. Whether it's peaceful and still, or bustling and busy, claim the present and know it. Take advantage of your spectacular network of sensory nerve endings. Explore the intricate, complex and tactile world around you! Pulling our consciousness back into our bodies in this way can help us put our worries aside for some much needed relief, and return to them later with a renewed perspective.
Gratitude Feeds Presence; Presence Feeds Happiness
After engaging with the self, incorporating that sense of gratitude into other areas of our daily lives is one of the most powerful resources we can draw on. Gratitude nurtures and nourishes our ability to be present! It also releases us from the “never enough” mindset, and allows us to live in appreciation for the fundamental basics. What are you grateful for in this moment? Even if a mountain of negativity seem to be bearing down on you, there will always be something positive to grasp hold of. Whether it's people who love you, the roof over your head, or simply that you are able to perceive the world!
Shift your focus to what you have, and say a little internal prayer of thanks. Gratitude teaches us to recognize the valuable things around us that we might have been neglecting. So caught up in strife as we were, we had forgotten to appreciate our tribe, our home, or simply ourselves. When we become aware of how precious each little element really is, we become more inclined to sit with those things. We can bask in their brilliance, and step off of our self-made mental treadmill.
Use Mindfulness And Gratitude To Build Your Presence Muscle
Just as daily exercise will change your body, a daily gratitude and presence practice will make living in the moment more and more accessible. Coming back into yourself will become faster and easier to do! In it's essence, mindfulness means observing and steering your mental course. It's application can help you get grounded, and enjoy experiencing joy and presence each and every day.
Take care of your body. It is, after all, your direct connection to the world around you. Experiment with my No-Meditation, Meditation, and use it as a window in which to rejoin your physical self. Stretch your Thanksgiving practice to span the whole year! Put aside a little time each day, and mentally list your blessings. Each thing that you can feel gratitude towards counts, from the monumental, to the tiny and insignificant!
I like to entwine my senses with my very own gratitude ritual by making space for it after using the Essential Rose Sacred Mood Mist. Nourishing my skin, stimulating my senses, and centering my mind with a powerful Essential Rose mantra, all serve as the perfect back drop to clarity and gratitude. This powerful combination set me up beautifully for presence throughout the day ahead. Whatever challenges may come, my advice is to be in the moment, and let gratitude shine a light on the positive. We make the mistake of imagining that life is something we have to wait for. It isn't – you're right in the thick of it, here and now! Be playful, be engaged, and above all, be thankful – there is far too much magic out there for us to allow ourselves to miss it.