“Gratitude changes attitude”
Thanksgiving, the holiday of gratitude, is upon us. We celebrate our many blessings on this special day. While Thanksgiving may be a bit much for daily practice, gratitude may be worth expressing more than once a year. How can it play a role in health and happiness? How do you sense gratitude?
Gratitude, like hunger or fatigue, is a state of being. A state is composed of thoughts, sensations, feelings and movements. When grateful, I think of and give thanks for my home, family, friends, work and full refrigerator. I sense my breathing slowing down and my body softening. I also feel warm and comfortable. My movements become lighter and easier. As I move into my next activity a sense of peace remains.
Here is a simple Feldenkrais scanning gratitude experiment. Start by writing down how you are now: What are you doing and thinking? Do you notice any physical sensations (breathing, hot, cold, stiff)? How do you feel (tired, energized, achy)? Are you moving? What state are you in (ok, happy, frustrated)? Record your answers to these questions.
Get up, walk around and find a quiet space to practice gratitude. Some people consider gratitude as prayer or meditation. Simply, it is expressing thanks for all the things that give you life: family, friends, work, food and shelter. Also be grateful for the smaller things that make life worth living: the barista who makes your perfect latte, your pet(s), guitar, paint brush, or favorite gardening shop.
You may express your thanks out loud or silently. Let the process unfold lightly and simply. There is no right or wrong way to do this and you may stop whenever you wish. Even a few minutes of gratitude will produce profound change.
Review your notes and notice what has changed. Are you thinking differently? How have your physical sensations and feelings changed? Has the quality of movement improved? What is your state of being now?
Practicing gratitude is a wonderful addition to your wellness routine. If you do not like your present attitude (state) change it with gratitude. The Feldenkrais Method is another great wellness practice. You may learn more about us here at www.s3nse.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hope to see you one day at S3NSE or on Zoom.