The Autumn Blues are a modern-day phenomenon that is easy to understand.
The long, warm days of summer have been replaced with wind, rain and dark evenings. Plus, the change of season often accompanies lifestyle changes that can leave us feeling lethargic and a little bit sorry for ourselves.
However, while some of us experience Autumn Blues, many cultures happily express gratitude for the abundance of summer that we leave behind whilst preparing for the winter with an open heart and mind.
So, could gratitude be the answer to Autumn Blues?
Well, the research suggests that it could!
But, what is the yogi perspective on gratitude? With namaste mudra or prayer hands being such a prominent feature of a yoga class, surely being thankful features highly in the practice of yoga.
Or does it?
Yoga and contentment
When researching yoga philosophy, I always start with the most important text on the topic, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.
Well, I can honestly say that I have scanned the indexes of the various copies of the Sutras that I own and not one of them features the word ‘gratitude’.
Although there is a lack of the term ‘gratitude’, what Patanjali does mention is ‘contentment’ or ‘santosha’.
In book 2, verse 42, Patanjali says,
¨By contentment, supreme joy in gained¨
Through what we have learnt so far about the benefits of gratitude, we can interpret this in the following way:
Gratitude leads to contentment. And, contentment ultimately leads to joy.
How to practise gratitude
From my personal experience, spending a few minutes each morning and each night reminding myself that I am grateful has made me feel more content and at peace with whatever life throws at me.
To start, I simply say, “I am thankful for…” and then add a short list of things such as,
My comfortable bed; time with my family; work that I am passionate about that helps people; and being out in nature.
It’s enough to say these things to yourself but taking a few moments to write your gratitude list down on paper is an even more powerful tool for promoting well-being and contentment.
Think about it now. What would be on your list?
Mary Davis says,
“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see’’
Since starting a daily gratitude practice, I can 100% affirm to this.
Simply saying ‘thank you’ for the little things on a daily basis has made me more appreciative of everything – quite literally everything!
Remember practising gratitude doesn’t mean that you are happy every second of the day.
In fact, it is perfectly possible to feel sad, mad or bad but still feel grateful at the same time.
Each day, I am learning to be grateful for challenges that arise and the lessons that I learn from them.
Without a doubt, it’s easier to do this some days than others.
But, hey, it is called a ‘journey’ for a reason. It would be boring if everything came too easily – wouldn’t it???