You may be surprised to learn there is a profound connection between living in the moment and appreciation. We are living in a fast paced world. Everywhere you turn there seems to be some distraction and time just seems to slip right between your fingers. Just as we try to maintain our physical health, our mental health is just as important but a lot of us don't seem to take care of ourselves mentally. There is a deep connection between living in the moment and fostering a sense of gratitude.
When you think about gratitude what comes to mind. It's so much more than just saying thank you to someone for doing something for you. Gratitude is a complete mindset. It's about appreciating all of life's moments no matter how big or small. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can lead to a wealth of health benefits such as improved mood, reduced stress, stronger relationships, and an overall satisfaction in life. So how does living in the moment and gratitude mesh together?
If you recall mindfulness means living in the present moment completely engaged in what is happening in that moment. Not thinking of the past or the future, but instead focusing on what is happening at that moment, the thoughts, the feelings, emotions, and sensations.
Where is the connection you may ask, well let's talk about it.
Heightened Awareness-In mindfulness we are fully aware of our surroundings, thoughts and feelings. This helps us notice what we didn't notice before. Maybe it's the feel of the sun on your skin, the birds singing, or the beautiful view out of your kitchen window. These things can give us gratitude.
Finding Joy in the Simple Things-When we live in mindfulness and gratitude, the simplest of things can bring us joy. Feeling the cool breeze on your skin, letting the warm water of the shower swallow you, the sound of your pet playing.
Shifting Your Mindset-One of the best gifts mindfulness can give you is to learn how to view your thoughts without judgement. When you use a non judgmental attitude, it can shift your whole perspective when challenges are thrown at you. It can help you find the silver linings and even feel gratitude when faced with hard times.
Deeper Relationships- This is one that so many people struggle with. Be fully present when you are with other people. Most people don't fully listen or engage with others because they are distracted by other things whether that is a cell phone, racing thoughts, or doing other things while talking. When you take all those things out, it allows you to connect more deeply with people by listening more closely, connecting on a different level, and empathizing. These qualities are closely tied to gratitude.
If you want to start bringing more gratitude in you life, there are some things you can do to help get you started.
Start the day with gratitude! Every morning list some things you are grateful for, even if it's something as simple as how soft your pillow is.
Practice mindful breathing. Take a few minutes in your day to focus on your breathing. Focus on the inhale and exhale. Notice your inhale and exhale. Feel the gratitude for the breaths that you take.
Savor the moments that make you feel happy. When you are doing something that makes you truly happy savor it! Go deep in that activity and notice the sights, smells, feelings, conversation. Allow yourself to express gratitude for that experience. It's never too big or too small-that delicious meal, that long evening walk, or even a great conversation.
Keep a Journal. Journaling is a great way to keep those special moments or events that brought you joy alive. When you are having a bad day all you have to do is look back on all those entries of joy and gratitude and soon those memories will come flooding back to bring you good feelings.
Reflect each evening. Before going to bed, think about what brought you joy or gratitude that day. You will end your day with feelings of contentment and peace.
Living in the moment, mindfulness, and gratitude are so intertwined, and both can gives us deeper feelings of contentment, joy, and peace. You will open yourself up to so much beauty in the world you never noticed, and will feel more connected to it and others. Let's start this journey of gratitude and mindfulness and live a life of fulfillment, a heart full of thankfulness, and wonder.
At Simple Joy Box our goal is to help people reconnect with what matters most in life and to find joy in the everyday. Each month we curate an experience that helps you de-stress, slow down, and appreciate the simple things in life. Even the most ordinary moments can be transformed into something special with the right mindset and a few thoughtful touches. We make the ordinary extraordinary!