In life’s hustle and bustle, it’s easy to overlook daily opportunities to express our gratitude. Here, we offer prompts to help you cultivate compassion and grace over seven days.
How Ayurveda Links Gratitude to Grace
Gratitude has been linked in many studies to an overall sense of well-being, but it is truly much more powerful than that!
According to Ayurveda, an attitude of gratitude is the fuel for grace.
When we are the recipient of a heartfelt gift or gesture, we typically express gratitude in the form of a thank you. The heart-opening, warm, and fuzzy feelings you and the person receiving the gift get after expressing that gratitude is called grace.
I’ve heard grace has been described as the “unmerited favor of God.” It’s a feeling of oneness, love, and expansion.
We often find ourselves surprised by grace, such as the “grace of God” from a meditation or a prayer. Or you may get lucky and experience grace in response to something wonderful happening. Yes, grace may be a spontaneous event, but it does not have to be elusive.
Gratitude and grace, according to Ayurveda, can be a way of life.
We can remind ourselves to be grateful for so many things that we often take for granted, or are too busy to stop and take note of. God, family (biological or chosen), friends, food, nature, life, air, water, farmers, your health are all things you may be grateful for. When you stop and fully express gratitude for such things, that gratitude can warm your heart, leading to grace.
This feeling of grace can spawn more gratitude and more grace. Soon, you’ll find yourself paying it forward and focusing on what’s right rather than what is wrong with the world.
Get Daily Gratitude Reminders
I want to introduce you to our free weeklong gratitude program, called 7 Days of Grace: Cultivating Gratitude.
Each day, I’ll ask you to express your gratitude for the following seven gifts we all have in our lives. Feel free to be grateful for anything else that inspires you, too!
7 Days of Gratitude
Day 1: Gratitude for Family (Biological, Given, or Chosen)
Express your gratitude for family, in whatever form that looks like for you. Write family members a letter, send them a message or an email, give them a call. Hug them if you can. Tell them you love them and that you are so grateful to have them. If possible, eat together as a family.
Day 2: Gratitude for Friends
Let your friends know how much you appreciate them today. Centenarians—those who live 100 years or more—teach us that having a community of supportive family and friends is a key to experiencing a long life. Studies suggest that people within a strong social community live longer than those who do not. When sick, the socially-isolated are shown to be at 2.4 times greater risk of mortality.
Day 3: Gratitude for Water
Research shows that four billion people worldwide experience water scarcity and two-thirds of the global population live under conditions of severe water scarcity. Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global crisis. How easy is it to be grateful for water while in the shower or during a meal?
Day 4: Gratitude for Organic Farmers
The costs for farmers to transition from conventional to organic farming is prohibitive, but more and more farmers are taking the risk. We are so grateful for those farmers who have taken the risk and are now providing us with organic foods.
Day 5: Gratitude for Music
Music has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Studies link music to better sleep, sharper minds, less depression, heart health, and more. It is easy to be grateful for music. Make time today (and every day!) to listen to some beautiful music. While listening—feel the grace!
Day 6: Gratitude for Nature
Studies show that by just being in nature you can boost your health. In Japan, there are 64 certified forests that have been documented to deliver health benefits just by walking through them. Today, many people have a nature deficiency disorder that needs to be corrected.
Ayurveda says that being in nature is a primary source of building ojas or vitality, and we now have Western science to back this up. In one study, people who lived in greener surroundings lived 12 percent longer than those who lived away from nature.
Try to get out in nature, breathe, walk, run, or meditate on a rock, but most importantly, allow yourself to feel how fortunate you are to be in such surroundings. Make it a habit!
Day 7: Gratitude for Health
We do not realize how important our health is until we lose it. Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans and costs some $635 billion a year. Another 133 million Americans have other types of chronic health conditions.
Today, let’s be grateful for the health we have and help spread the word to others on how to be healthy now! Let’s also pray for those who are sick and suffering.