Yes, thanks

What if every moment could bring you happiness?

 

Isn’t it frustrating when things don’t go the way you were hoping?

  • When you’re stuck inside because it’s raining… 😒
  • When you are ill and cannot attend that exercise class you love… 😔
  • When your child is ill and needs to come home from nursery/school? 🥵
  • When your flight is cancelled? 🤬

I could go on (and I’m sure you could think of a huge list too!)

 

Budda mindset

What if we could be happy, regardless of what life throws at us?

According to Buddhist monks the key to happiness lies in surrendering, with acceptance, to whatever the present moment has gifted you.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh (11 October 1926 – 22 January 2022), was known as the ‘father of mindfulness’ and for teaching the lesson of saying ‘Yes, and thank you’, to all that the present moment brought.

Now, of course, it’s easier said than done! We are not monks!

However, we can work at coming just a TINY bit closer to the level of mindfulness and surrender that the Buddhist monks have mastered.

 

Practicing acceptance

I’m not writing this blog from the viewpoint of someone who has mastered this. I am JUST as quick to get annoyed as anyone else!!

This ‘acceptance of the present, regardless of what it brings’, is something I am working on. And I will have to keep working my whole life!

There are a few examples that I can draw on from my own circumstances where I could bring in this mindset:

 

I have a STINKING cold right now.

Because of it, I am taking it a little easier on exercise and giving myself some slack with how productive I am. I could think ‘Yes, thanks’ for having this cold, as it has offered me the reason to take some rest. (Well, as much rest as life with a young toddler can give….).

When I am better again, I will be able to say ‘Thanks’ to the cold for making me appreciate the feeling of functioning at 100% again!

 

Nursery illnesses (related to the point above!)

Some of you may know that our 16 month old toddler just started nursery! And, those who have experienced this transition will also know that this brings a new virus EVERY week! And the need to look after an ill child when you have lots of work to do.

To be honest, this has been a big source of frustration. 🥵

However, what I have been working on is being thankful for the snuggly moments it has given me with Ashley, who wants to cuddle and breastfeed all day long when he’s ill. Everyone tells me this time goes fast, and I believe them!

 

A difficult yoga pose!

Of course I need to mention a yoga-related example too! When I am practicing poses that are difficult for me (e.g. Wheel and Crow pose) I try to say ‘yes please and thank you’ to the physical discomfort it creates in my body.

 

What are your recent examples?

Can you think of ‘gifts’ the present has brought you recently, which could be viewed from a different perspective?

 

Gratitude for the small things 

It goes without saying that we should also say ‘Yes and thanks’ to all the more obviously joyful things that happen to us! However, this generally comes quite naturally.

Even so, it’s important to be consciously grateful for the small, beautiful things in life:

A beautiful sunset

A delicious meal

Time socialising with friends

An un-interrupted hour of yoga! 😆

 

Emotional wellbeing

Scientific researchers have been investigating whether gratitude is useful for physical and mental health over the last decades (Jans-Beken, 2020). 

In a large literature review, Jans-Beken et al. (2020) concluded that there is good evidence that both a personality disposition of being grateful (trait gratitude) and intentionally calling up gratitude in specific situations (state gratitude) are associated with better emotional wellbeing. They also found that having a grateful disposition was associated with lower chances of more serious physcho-pathologies (depression, anxiety and stress).

These findings ring true for me on an intuitive level. What about you?

 

Honouring your feelings

I couldn’t finish this blog without mentioning that when difficult things happen in life, and when you feel emotions such as sadness and anger, these are all valid! You are allowed to feel these feelings, and some stuff that happens to us is truly sh**!

I don’t want to accidentally bring across a message that whatever you are feeling, you should be happy!

The act of plastering on a smile and denying our difficult feelings is called ‘Toxic Positivity’, and doesn’t help anyone process what they’re going through.

The life skill is to allow yourself these feelings, acknowledge that they are present, and then, once you’re ready, try to say ‘yes please’ to all the unexpected things that have come along with this difficult situation. 🙏

 

So, let’s practice this!

This week, I invite you to consciously say (maybe out loud or internally) ‘Yes please, and thanks’, to a difficult situation that arises.

It doesn’t have to be a major incident! (I hope not for you!)

It could be the smallest thing that doesn’t go your way, but that gets under your skin.

 

Practice this during yoga?

Another way you could practice this is to get on your yoga mat at home! Find a virtual class to follow, or practice by yourself.

Whenever you encounter physical or psychological discomfort, think ‘Yes please, and thanks’.

Poses in which this could arise are plank/side plank/chataranga, hip openers, shoulder strengthening balance poses, or deep back-bends!

Let’s open the diary, and plan in your next practice… 🙏

 

Reference

Jans-Beken, L., Jacobs, N., Janssens, M., Peeters, S., Reijnders, J., Lechner, L., & Lataster, J. (2020). Gratitude and health: An updated review. The Journal of Positive Psychology15(6), 743-782.

Thank you for reading my blog!

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Love,

Jolanthe Xx

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