We love November for a myriad of reasons: practicing hygge, turning our attention to our loved ones and embracing the season of gratitude. Gratitude is becoming a big focus for us this year at Mad Ritual as it’s been so easy to get swept away in the drama of everything going on outside of us, making staying grounded an even bigger challenge. This month, we’re encouraging ourselves and others to focus on aspects of life that are within our control, the most powerful - mindset. Mindset can make or break you depending on what you choose to focus on and how you choose to react. The stress hormone, cortisol, is running RAMPANT through society right now and a lot of that is thanks to the pandemic, the election, the constant doomsday media that’s flooding our feed every day - it can be really hard to look at the bright side of things. But looking there are big benefits to being thankful for the little things outside of our screens. In fact, a gratitude practice could be the antidote to 2020 and beyond. Science tells us that the art of being thankful can literally change our brains for the better, positively impacting the limbic system and even improving our physical health. In fact, a gratitude practice has been shown to help reduce physical pain, improve sleep and strengthen interpersonal relationships. Interested in starting a gratitude practice but don’t know where to start? Here are some Mad Rituals for gratitude to help you get started.
- Stop Scrolling. Creating awareness around your screen time and detoxing your social media feed can be a good start to improving gratitude. If you find yourself comparing your life to those of strangers on the gram, it’s time to hit the unfollow button. The quick dopamine hit we get from new likes, views and followers is a fleeting one that ultimately puts our ego in charge of our life and ultimately creates suffering. Social media is only a good tool for connection if you’re staying connected to yourself and the things outside of your screen that promote happiness. Instead of scrolling, call a loved one, go for a walk or tidy up your space. Set screen time limits on applications like twitter and instagram and stick to them.
- Hug a Tree. A great way to open our hearts and turn off the noise in our head is by enjoying the gifts of nature. Turning our awareness to the beauty of nature has the ability to impact our emotions in a positive way that ultimately helps shift our consciousness. Expressing gratitude for our world around us changes the inner space in which we operate from and creates more positive experiences in our lives. It’s easier to let go of negativity and other things that don’t serve us when we’re immersed in the beauty of the world. Next time you’re outside, take a moment to say thank you to the nature that moves you the most. For more on the connection between Nature and Gratitude, check out Louie Shwartzberg’s TED talk.
- Self Love. A gratitude massage is a different kind of meditation that tunes into the physical body. Start by creating a relaxing, distraction-free space in your home where you can have some privacy. Concentrate on each part of the body that needs some attention and thank it. For example, massage along your neck and thank it for holding your head high, your shoulders for being strong and lifting up your children, your hips for moving you through the day and your feet for supporting your body. Need some pointers? Start with our 10-minute self massage guide. A physical gratitude practice will not only lead to happier thoughts, but also a healthier body.
- Keep a journal. This practice takes very little time and has powerful benefits. Keeping a gratitude journal can be as simple as writing down one thing you’re thankful for on a notepad before starting your work day or reflecting on some positive aspects of your day before you go to bed at night. Studies have shown keeping a gratitude journal can decrease materialism, improve generosity and even improve eating habits. Need a boost of motivation to start writing things down? Treat yourself to a fun journal like this one, and leave it in a place that will remind you to pick it up and write down your blessings. It can be as simple as “I’m thankful for my good hair day.”
- Meditation. When we think of meditation many of us think about sitting on the floor in a dark room chanting “OM” but that’s not always the case. A meditation can take place anytime, anywhere AND you can meditate specifically on ideas such as gratitude. A gratitude meditation can increase happiness by helping you focus on areas of your life that you’re grateful for. While you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or standing in the shower, simply reflect on the things that make you feel grateful. Set a reminder on your phone to help you carve some time during your day to pause and give thanks or tune into a youtube meditation like this one from Deepak Chopra.
Using one or all of these Mad Rituals for gratitude will help create a sustainable practice that works best for you. Being thankful for the small things is sure to raise your vibration through these stressful times and beyond. We hope you join us in focusing your attention on your inner world to cultivate more happiness in your life.
Do you have a gratitude practice? Tell us what makes you feel grateful in the comments below.