A New Perspective with Gratitude
Theresa Polley
November 5, 2020
August 16, 2023
Self Care

My gratitude practice has changed my life as much as my yoga and meditation practice - gratitude is that powerful. Practicing gratitude needs onlya few minutes a day and it can be done anywhere. No special clothes or props needed. A gratitude journal is nice, but not necessary.

I began practicing gratitude when I divorced my husband 10 years ago. I was struggling with an overwhelming sense of loss and feeling like I had failed. I was losing my life as I knew it - losing my home, my sense of safety and stability, and my husband (who I couldn't stand at the time - but still). A friend encouraged me to write down what I was grateful for - it was all the small things I had in my life, but took for granted, that got me through the difficult times. Taking a moment each day to state – privately or publicly – what you’re grateful for has proven scientific benefits to the mind, body and spirit.

At Retreat in the Pines gratitude is part of everything we do – from each yoga practice to Sunday morning's outdoor Gratitude Meditation on our deck surrounded by trees to our closing Gratitude Brunch (guests take turns sharing what they're grateful for). Discover gratitude as part of our  retreat community.

Gratitude turns what you have into enough.

Start a Practice of Gratitude

  1. Gratitude Journal - Can be a notebook, journal, piece of paper or simply a list in your head. Try to practice everyday and at the same time to get into the habit. For instance - with your morning coffee or tea, on your commute to work or before you go to sleep. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Gratitude Whiteboard - Perfect for a family or for a daily reminder to practice gratitude. Hang in a prominent place and add to it throughout the week or month. Start again the next week or month.
  3. Gratitude Photo Album - Create a photo album on your phone titled "Gratitude". Add photos of people and places you're grateful for. Continue to add to the folder with photos you take. Take a walk or a hike to specifically find photos of what brings you gratitude.

Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice

  1. Better physical health. According to a recent study, people who are grateful report fewer aches and pains than other people. It also follows, they are more likely to maintain their physical health through activities like yoga or other exercise and annual well visits to the doctor.
  2. Better psychological health. Focusing on what you're grateful for can reduce the experience of toxic emotions like anger, resentment, and regret. Research also suggests that gratitude increases feelings of happiness and reduces depression and anxiety.
  3. Better sleep. When you're grateful, you're able to sleep better at night. A general reduction in stress brought on by a shift toward gratitude for what you have (rather than longing for what you don't) helps minimize feelings of anxiety and sadness, thereby allowing more restful sleep.
  4. Greater self-awareness. Gratitude allows you a better understanding of self by turning inward. By keeping a gratitude journal, you begin to dig deep and find something "new" to be grateful for each day. This peeling back the layers of self allows deeper insight into your inner workings.

There’s no right or wrong way to start a gratitude practice, but in the spirit of the season, the best time to start is now! Be kind to yourself as you begin the process; it might not happen every day, but over time you may find it’s part of your morning or evening routine. Whether you journal first thing in the morning to give you perspective on your day or to help you wind down in the evening, know that you’ll be rewarded with benefits that feed your mind, body and spirit.

A gratitude practice really does turn what you have into enough. With a gratitude practice you’ll notice a definite shift. In your perspective, in your relationships and in your life.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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