In Ayurveda, an ancient science of holistic living, as well as in Western medicine practices, it’s agreed upon that stress is the number one contributor to chronic diseases. Between the dramas of daily living and the to-do lists that seem to only get longer, it can be challenging to slow down and manage our stress levels. We may be so busy and so stressed, in fact, that we can’t even recognize the state anymore— in many cases, it’s become our perceived baseline of normality. Unfortunately, the not-so-fun truth is that stress causes disease whether we realize we’re stressed or not.
Don’t worry! Coming up on top of our stress storm and preventing disease is totally achievable. Research has shown that our thoughts and emotions directly impact our physiology. Yes, that means if you are in an anxious, negative state of mind, your body responds by breaking down and permeating disease. But on the flip side; positive, calm thoughts and steady emotions lead to a healthy, happy body, even under unwelcome circumstances.
We are holistic beings who need to manage each level of our existence— real health is a matter of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. You can drink all the green juice and do all the yoga, but if you don’t work on your mindset, if you don’t love yourself and nurture your relationship with your inner and outer world, you’ll never feel truly healthy.
Of course, yoga and meditation are phenomenal ways to relax and connect with the things that actually matter again. But what else can we do to ditch the stress? Studies have proven time and again that practicing gratitude on a daily basis brings a sense of compassion, peace, and joy to people’s lives. Not only that, but it can actually change the chemistry of your body and give your nervous system just the boost needed in order to heal and truly enjoy your life.
So how can we start cultivating an attitude of gratitude and get on top of our holistic wellness? Here are some ideas:
Start a Gratitude List
Take a few minutes every morning to write down a list of things you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. You can write down something as simple as the food in your fridge, the roof over your head, your body, mom, or dog. Writing down at least 5-10 blessings you’re grateful for every morning will bring a greater sense of joy and ease to your perspective. When practiced consistently, you’ll begin to rewire your mind to see the good in the world, and actually attract more goodness because of it!
Say Thanks Before Every Meal
Every meal, before you take your first bite, pause. Look at your food. Take in the smells and colors, and acknowledge the journey your food took to make it to your plate. Send gratitude to the people who grew your food, the people who prepared and cooked it (even if it was you!), and Mother Earth for providing it in the first place. Give thanks for the nourishment your food will provide and eat your meal with presence and joy, ideally with people you love!
Tell Your Loved Ones you Love them
Voice your gratitude! When you take the time to tell your friends and family you appreciate them, you’ll both experience all the fuzzy warm feelings of love. Make it your goal to outwardly appreciate at least one person every single day— even expressing genuine thanks to the waiter or the grocer is a great way to practice gratitude! Not only will you begin to notice all the incredible blessings surrounding you every day, but you’ll simultaneously raise up the people around you. It’s a win-win.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude allows for more abundance to fill your life. When you begin to notice and appreciate the small but mighty blessings around you, they multiply tenfold. So go ahead. Say thanks, count your blessings, and reap the rewards of a healthy, happy, positive life. You deserve it.