How to Cultivate Gratitude With Peloton This Holiday Season
Hint: Meditation classes are key.
By Dana Meltzer Zepeda•
Finding gratitude is simple when everything in life seems to be going your way. After all, counting your blessings is easy if you've just fallen in love, received a big promotion at work or landed your dream job. But can you honestly say that you do the same when you're grieving for a family member, living through a worldwide pandemic or coping with financial difficulties?
“Gratitude is not just for the perfect set of circumstances when things are good,” says Peloton yoga and meditation instructor Aditi Shah. “Personally, I love to practice gratitude on those days when everything is going wrong. It makes everything feel a little lighter, reminds me of my blessings and lifts my heart.”
Although gratitude can sometimes feel hard to come by, it’s entirely possible to change your perspective simply by turning your focus inward through a regular meditation practice. You may feel overwhelmed at first, but Peloton meditations are one of the most effective tools you have at your disposal to help you cope when life gets in the way.
“Meditation strengthens our ability to be in the moment and to have the space to choose how we respond to life,” Aditi says. “When we meditate, we are able to allow ourselves to feel whatever we need and, alongside that, cultivate compassion and gratitude. This translates to real life in a way that we can count our blessings and make our blessings count.”
In fact, scientific research has proven that mindful meditation can actually decrease stress, anxiety and depression, as well as help you get a better night's sleep simply by harnessing the power of your mind. You may also experience other notable health benefits such as reduced blood pressure levels, improved mental clarity and less fatigue.
“There are so many different types of meditation practices,” Aditi says. “Neuroscience has shown that different practices quite literally change your brain. Beyond brain health, other benefits include increased focus, greater emotional regulation, self-awareness and compassion. Gratitude meditations do exactly what they claim to: Increase compassion and gratitude. These feelings help us to increase positive emotions, tone the vagal nerve, work with chronic pain, support PTSD and much more.”
So, regardless of whether you're taking a Peloton meditation class or just counting your blessings before bedtime, it's important to remember that there is always something to be grateful for, even if it's simply having a roof over your head or the ability to get out of bed each day.
“During the holidays, we strive to recognize that which is most important to us and that which embodies the qualities of goodness,” Aditi says. “Gratitude opens the door to that. Gratitude doesn't mean that things are perfect. Rather, it's the ability to acknowledge that, in the midst of anything–even heartbreak, isolation and worry–there is something to say thank you for. In a way, gratitude leads the way to generosity, a sort of goodness in the way that we show up in the world. When we can acknowledge the goodness in the world, we can open the doors to our own hearts.”
Ready to practice gratitude? Try a meditation with Aditi.