One of the Reiki principles that holds a key to your healing and promotes your health and happiness is “Just for today be grateful”.
If you’re a past Reiki Level One student you’re familiar with the principle of gratitude and have been encouraged to practice it in different ways. If you’re yet to learn Reiki you can still practice gratitude to increase your health and wellbeing.
So, what is gratitude? According to The Oxford Dictionary gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.
As you know it’s easy to be thankful for:
– warm sunny weather
– moments spent with loved ones
– extra time to cultivate hobbies
– good health
– job satisfaction
But what happens when you experience life challenges such as:
– job loss
– chronic illness
– relationship difficulties?
When you experience challenges, it’s important to acknowledge your thoughts and emotions surrounding the situation. This promotes authentic healing. But, it’s also important to have tools that lighten your healing journey, tools that help you to reframe the situation so you feel healthier and happier.
Here are three simple ways to practice gratitude that optimise your mental and emotional health:
1. Self- Reiki Practice
If you’ve learnt Reiki create some extra time for self- Reiki practice. Self-Reiki practice helps you to “go with the flow” and accept the present moment as it is. It’s natural for there to be layers of acceptance toward your life challenges. The gentler you are with yourself during this time, the easier your journey is.
During your self-Reiki practice ask yourself “Where do I need Reiki? If you don’t know where you need Reiki place your hands on your lower abdomen and heart. Spend time breathing deeply into your lower abdomen and acknowledge any thoughts or emotions that you experience without judging them.
Have your thoughts around your challenge changed? In modern psychology, this change in thinking is referred to as reframing.
2. A gratitude list.
Write down 10 things each day that you’re grateful for. Initially, it may be ambitious to find 10 things each day to be grateful for, yet over time, it becomes easier.
Try it for 21 days. Research suggests that it takes 21 days to learn a new habit. If you continue the new habit for another ninety days it’s more likely to become a permanent lifestyle change.
For example – Gratitude List Day 1:
1. A cup of hot tea this morning.
2. A chat with a loved one.
3. Bike ride to work. It helps to lower my carbon footprint.
4. A friend canceling dinner plans tonight. It gives me an opportunity to catch up on sleep.
5. A messy house. It reminds me that friends and family have enjoyed our time together.
6. A heavy downpour of rain. Crops are receiving extra water.
7. Time to cook a meal for dinner.
8. Greater harmony with my brother.
9. Long socks that keep my legs warm.
10. Hearing that I didn’t get the job I wanted. I was initially disappointed but I am trusting that there is a job that’s better suited to me.
No’s 4, 5 and 10 may not seem positive initially, but once reframed, became positives. As mentioned above, cognitive reframing is a psychological term that refers to mentally viewing events, ideas, or emotions differently. This creates a positive mental shift in how you view a situation. These mental shifts, or changes, help you to experience better health and wellbeing. Practicing gratitude regularly facilitates this mental reframing.
Why not practice gratitude with your loved ones? It will heighten your motivation and also improve your loved ones’ health and wellbeing.
3. Gratitude for your five senses.
in 2016, a Reiki Level One student shared a wonderful practice in class. It’s simple to implement.
Each day she was consciously grateful for each of her five senses.
For example, she was grateful for:
a) The sound of her father’s voice on the telephone
b) The smell of her neighbours freshly cut grass
c) Feeling her cat’s warmth on her lap as she watched T.V. in the evening
d) Tasting carrots for her afternoon snack
e) Seeing a man helping a stranger at the supermarket
You can keep these as mental notes throughout the day or contribute to a gratitude diary at the end of each day.
The benefits of gratitude are also well documented in the scientific community. Here are three scientific studies showing that practicing gratitude increases the health and wellbeing of study participants:
1. Gratitude improves the quality and duration of sleep
In 2009 a questionnaire study was conducted to determine if gratitude helped to improve sleep. 401 people ranging from 18 to 68 years, including those who had reported having clinically impaired sleep, took part.
The study found that gratitude practice improved sleep quality. Those who participated slept for longer periods of time and reported less daytime dysfunction. These improvements were due to subjects noting their blessings before sleep.
2. Gratitude improves physical health
In 2013, 962 Swiss adults ranging from 19 to 84 years were given a gratitude questionnaire to see if and why gratitude contributed to better physical health. The findings suggest that grateful individuals experienced better physical health. This was due to their greater psychological health, willingness to engage in healthy activities, and seek help for health concerns.
3. Gratitude increases job satisfaction
In a recent study 186, palliative care professionals from all over Spain completed a survey exploring how expressions of gratitude from patients and their relatives affected them. Almost 80% of those who completed the survey reported that they almost always received expressions of gratitude. Most of these came from family members. Due to the expressions of gratitude, almost 90% of palliative care professionals reported increased job satisfaction and felt support during difficult times.
The outcomes of the scientific research supporting the Reiki principle “Just for today be grateful” show that when you focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, your physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health improves.
During Restore Naturally Reiki courses you learn more ways to practice gratitude and how life challenges are here to help you grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Please note: Reiki doesn’t replace conventional medicine. It complements it.