How Somatic Gratitude Connects the Body to the Mind
Many of us understand how important gratitude is in our lives — showing our appreciation for the people, places, situations, and events we are able to experience in this life, even when things are rough. Some make gratitude lists, while others try to consciously practice being grateful throughout each day.
Gratitude can make us feel more attuned to our lives, reminding us of all the good things and people within them. It has been shown that expressing gratitude regularly can boost your mood and make you feel happier overall. But this process is often mental and does not account for the beautiful sensory experiences we share every day.
What is Somatic Gratitude?
Somatic gratitude is a more narrowed practice that involves expressing appreciation for those things we sense and feel with our bodies, helping us become more connected to our bodies in the process.
The word somatic is defined as, “relating to the body, especially as distinct from the mind.”
Often, when practicing gratitude, you may think about things like a new job or a good friend that make you feel grateful—somatic gratitude asks you to consider the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textile feelings that fill you with joy.
Somatic Gratitude Example Questions:
- What smell are you grateful for today?
- What touch are you grateful for today?
- What taste are you grateful for today?
- What song makes your ears the happiest today?
- What texture are you grateful to feel today?
- What color makes you feel grateful today?
- What sight is most beautiful to your eyes today?
- What sound are you most grateful for today?
- What piece of art do you find most soothing to look at today?
- What sensation in your body do you love most?
- What flavor makes you feel most alive?
- What part of your body are you most grateful for?
- When was the last deep belly laugh you are grateful to have had?
- What friend makes you feel most comfortable in your skin?
- What is your favorite texture for your fingers to graze?
- What smell gives you the greatest memories?
- Whose voice do you find the most soothing to your ears?
- What abilities or talents are most you grateful for?
- What temperature or season makes your body most comfortable?
- What exercise or experience makes you feel most at home in your body?
- What sight makes you feel most hopeful?
- What vision do you like to see most in your dreams?
- Where in nature does your body feel most at home?
- What form of expression makes you feel the most self-confident?
- What food are you most excited about eating today?
These are only some examples of the many ways to incorporate somatic gratitude into your life. Feel free to come up with as many sensations that you love and appreciate as you can.
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The Mind-Body Connection
Why is somatic gratitude important if you are already mindful of and grateful for the wonderful things in your life? Somatic gratitude not only helps you to bridge any gaps between mind and body, it helps you center yourself in the present moment.
There are so many amazing facets of this life that it can be hard to remember everything that you find moving or beautiful, especially in such a fast-paced society. You may feel grateful for the home you have or the car you’re able to drive each day, but when was the last time you stopped and felt gratitude for the smell of a freshly squeezed orange? Or the view of a cotton candy sunset on a breezy afternoon?
Many if not most of us spend a good deal of time in our heads — thinking, analyzing, processing. It can be much harder to root yourself in your body and in the present moment than you might imagine. Our days might be occupied with thoughts of to-dos, plans for the future, dreams and goals, what we’d like to manifest. It’s easy to forget about the numerous, gorgeous details of each day that provide our bodies with comfort and peace, like a soothing song or a walk through the mountains. We might even forget the things we most love about our bodies, like smooth skin or the ability to walk, the feeling of a warm blanket on a chilly night, or the way we see the world.
Somatic gratitude reminds you that sensations are just as important and moving as experiences.
You can begin by simply asking yourself one question regarding the sensations you’re grateful each day, or you could take 20 minutes to meditate on the sensations you find most pleasing. The journey is yours to create.
In time and with some somatic practice, you’ll find mind and body moving together to build a harmonious relationship, set in the beauty of the present moment.
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