Gratitude is an elemental component of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, and perhaps one of the most potent natural medicines known to humankind. Scientific studies demonstrate that practicing gratitude can aid in healing a broad array of conditions, both physical and psychological. As women, it is essential that we tap into the deep reservoirs of our psychic energy to harness the power of gratitude for physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.
Below we explore the benefits and methods of leveraging the power of gratitude in everyday life. If you are seeking to live a healing and nourishing Ayurvedic lifestyle, embracing gratitude as a way of being is an absolute must.
What is Gratitude?
What does it mean to practice gratitude as part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle?
In the simplest terms, practicing gratitude means being unconditionally grateful for all of life’s offerings. When we practice gratitude, we interpret our lives through a lens of gratefulness instead of vulnerability and resentment. In other words, we are able to embrace experiences, both positive and negative, for the insights and gifts they deliver instead of dwelling on their negative repercussions. By actively seeking things to be grateful for in every scenario, we are able to shift our focus from negative, self-destructive thoughts to ones of positivity and abundance.
How Does One Practice Gratitude In An Ayurvedic Lifestyle?
Practicing gratitude can be difficult at first, and it usually requires active psychological intervention against your own toxic thoughts. To practice gratitude, you must deliberately shift your focus from negative thoughts to potential gains.
For example: say you experience a conflict with a coworker. If you are not in the habit of practicing gratitude, you might find yourself angry with your coworker. You may stew in resentment or wallow in your victimhood. Alternatively, you may shift the blame from the other person to yourself, internally abusing yourself for your faults.
To begin to practice gratitude, you must intentionally stop these thoughts in their tracks and instead focus on the positive aspects of the conflict. Perhaps the conflict taught you about your own weaknesses, granting you the opportunity to improve yourself. Or maybe the conflict revealed a weakness in your coworker for which you can offer empathy and support. You can view the conflict as an opportunity to uncover repressed feelings and improve communication networks.
To begin practicing gratitude, start the day by recording ten or fifteen things that you are grateful for. You can express gratitude for material belongings, people, experiences, personal attributes—anything that activates your sense of abundance. At the end of the day, write down the negative thoughts and experiences you had during the day. Then record why you are grateful for them and what you can gain from them. Over time, recording thoughts of gratitude will translate into greater appreciation in the context of your everyday life. You will find yourself unconsciously, automatically seeking the good in everyday situations instead of dwelling on the negative.
Gratitude and the Body
Gratitude is an essential component of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, critical to healthy living and a holistic spiritual practice. Practicing gratitude surpasses the realm of the mind to nourish all aspects of your person, tangible and intangible alike.
Most Western doctors and psychologists would recommend practicing gratitude as a means of shifting a negative mindset. But in Ayurveda, gratitude is about so much more than thoughts. Indeed, Western scientists have found that practicing gratitude actually mitigates the negative bio-physiological effects of stress, which impede proper hormonal functioning and disturb our bodily systems at the cellular level. Gratitude is also conducive to a positive emotional state. These positive emotions generate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that enhance physical health at the cellular level.
Gratitude in Ayurvedic Medicine
According to Ayurvedic medicine, gratitude also helps to balance vata in the body. Vata imbalance is conducive to feelings of helplessness and energetic deprivation, as well as poor digestion, dryness, and insomnia. Balancing vata is thus an important aspect of a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. Furthermore, gratitude is Sattvic, meaning it vibrates at a high frequency that permits energetic connection and an expanded consciousness. Finally, practicing gratitude heals the body by propelling the circulation of prana, or life force energy.
Shifting the Victim Mentality
Practicing gratitude also helps us reframe what we initially perceive as negative experiences. It is easy, when dwelling on the negative, to embrace a mentality of victimhood. People who focus on the negative aspects of their lives tend to view themselves as victims of either circumstance or the ill intentions of others.
Those who practice gratitude turn the victimhood mentality on its head, restoring their power to reap the positive aspects of a negative situation. Practicing gratitude also allows you to shield yourself from negativity, empowering you to take control of a situation instead of allowing it to control your emotions. Gratitude can transform you, as the protagonist of your own Ayurvedic lifestyle, from the victim to the hero.
Activating the Law of Attraction
Per the law of attraction, practicing gratitude attracts more things for which we are grateful into our lives. It also encourages us to embrace the larger picture—growth, lessons, and synchronicity—instead of dwelling on the minutia of unkind words or uncomfortable feelings.