When we’re in the trenches, going through the lows of life, it can be hard to drum up gratitude. This last year has been especially hard for all of us. Life as we know it has changed. Amidst the pandemic, we still have our personal struggles. Work, kids, sickness, money troubles, and to-do lists are still here.
During these hard times, how can we continue to practice gratitude?
A grateful mind and heart help us stay focused on what matters most and maintain resilience in the face of adversity. It’s a practice that supports not only our minds and relationships but our physical well-being. I’ve talked with many people about gratitude. And one of the things that people like to do is reconnect with nature. Nature has a way of making us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that we are lucky enough to have this home.
1. Remember that you’re just a tiny speck in the vast universe.
I’m lucky enough to live by the ocean. In looking out at the ocean, it becomes apparent that I am very small in comparison. The ocean is vast and mysterious, and next to it, I’m inconsequential. I remember having a similar experience in Africa, one of the most transformative places I’ve visited. Just looking at that vast landscape, I had this sense that I was privileged to be there.
Connecting with nature reminds us that our problems as humans are so small in relation. There is this vastness that we are all part of and remembering that helps diminish our problems. It’s refreshing to remember our place in the world and be alleviated of the responsibility that you’re the most important thing in the universe.
2. Embrace the awareness that you are a part of everything, and everything is as it is meant to be.
One of the main pieces of wisdom that I use in my own gratitude practice is that I am part of everything else. Yes, I have my own distinct qualities and contributions, but I’m just part of the family of humans and nature. I’m just one piece of a huge puzzle. I think we in Western culture, in particular, live in our heads a lot of the time. When we can stop focusing on ourselves and live in the moment, we can then witness nature from a more intimate way. The power of the human heart is connected to the power within nature. When we reconnect with that, we’re reminded that we are part of it all. Small though we are, we are connected to everything and everyone.
3. Practice living from a place of compassion and loving kindness.
It’s so important to understand that your brain does not have all the answers. Many of the mental health issues we experience come from being stuck in our heads and failing to live from our hearts. There are all these hoops that the human brain says you have to jump through, but they don’t get you to happiness. There’s always another hoop up ahead. When you feel communion with your fellow beings and nature, that’s when you feel happiest. By remembering that we are not just our minds, we can become our true selves and embrace all that we are. By spending time in nature, we reconnect with the heart center of ourselves which brings us back into a harmonious state of being. Living from the heart allows us to feel empathy towards our fellow humans and creatures.
There are many other ways you can cultivate gratitude into your life such as meditation, journaling, volunteering, participating in community activities, and performing acts of service. Another thing to remember is that this is a practice, something you must do every day in order to stay in a grateful mindset.
What are some of the ways you notice gratitude in your life, in your interactions with others, or in nature?
Leave your comments and thoughts below. I’d love to hear how you practice gratitude.