A famous man once said, “I urge you to please notice when you’re happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point ‘if this isn’t nice I don’t know what is.’” But noticing all those little moments can be difficult, unless there were a way to train the brain to do just that.
Diana Christinson, owner and a teacher of the Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Dana Point, has invented that way. With her daily Gratitude Practice, it is possible to adjust the mind to think positively, and that is a powerful idea.
Recently, Diana challenged her students to a simple task: take two minutes a day to meditate on what they are grateful for. Along with the things they are always grateful for, Diana also asked that her students find three new things every day. According to her, this practice eventually leads the brain to automatically notice things it is grateful for. It literally trains the brain to go to a positive place.
Diana always teaches the importance of being in the present moment, especially during meditation. So she found a way to help her students bring this idea into their gratitude practice. According to her, having something tangible helps “bring us to the present.” This is why she encourages using beans, or pebbles or anything of that nature.
Sit with a bowl of beans, she advises, and pick a handful. Go through one by one, using each bean to represent one thing you are grateful for. The beans can be big things, the ones you always remember, like your parents, or yoga. They can also be little things, like an unexpected call from a friend or your favorite pizza. According to Diana, it’s these little things that we tend to miss, but with gratitude practice, we start to really notice.
Diana says, “Our lives are made of all these beautiful little things…[and] if we’re grateful for all the little things we start to see the beauty in every little corner of our lives.” Her gratitude practice allows her students to notice when they are happy. But even more than that – it slowly teaches them to automatically think positively. Diana ask her students to commit to a yearlong challenge, so hopefully by the end of the year they will notice the difference – they will see the world as more wonderful and beautiful.
Would you take on a Gratitude Practice challenge? It takes only two minutes a day!