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What camels can teach us about gratitude!!!

Camels are large pack animals and live in some of the harshest environments on the planet. Consider the dry, hot and sparse desert environment in which it must forage for food and there doesn't seem to be much it can be grateful for.

And yet these beautiful animals have a unique body which allows them not only to survive but to thrive in these environments. Their long legs, concentrated storage of fat in their hump and reduced number of sweat glands mean that they can endure the harsh climate. Wide feet, long eyelashes and slit nostrils are perfect for the sandy environment. Camels do not store water in their hump as we have grown up believing, however they can survive for a long time without food and water because they have oval red blood cells which can flow quicker in a dehydrated state and kidneys which are good at retaining water and can tolerate salt water.

The spirit of the camel teaches us that to stay happy and satisfied we must learn to appreciate what we rather than focussing on what we do not. This is gratitude.

Why is gratitude one of the attribute of mindfulness?

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, reduce stress and depression. The more grateful people are the greater their overall well-being and life satisfaction.

When we think of the word gratitude, some other words spring to mind. Thankful, appreciation, respect, fortunate, blessed and the idea of not trying to change anything. Did you know that gratitude is not a new concept, it is documented in yoga texts dating back 5000bc long before any scientific benefits were understood. Gratitude is mentioned along with four other important ethical practices about mastering the art of feeling at ease and at peace with yourself.

Santosha (contentment) "By contentment, the highest happiness is attained" - Yoga sutras of Patanjali, Sutra ll.42

To practice feeling content is to know exactly who you are without seeking happiness from external sources.

How can we practice gratitude contentment? one way is to focus and reflect on the good things that are in or happen to us during our daily lives. Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate things or people. things we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, clothing, education, friends, family and many more.

When we make gratitude a habit it can be good for us because

  • Gratitude has an incredible effect on our mental health, when we notice and reflect on things we experience more positive emotions and feel more alive

  • Gratitude helps us boost our ability to learn and make good decisions

  • People who practice positive emotions are less likely to be stressed and happier

  • Gratitude helps us feel grateful, calm, joyful or loving and this helps us sleep better

  • Gratitude helps us build better relationships by expressing more compassion and kindness, which builds trust and creates a closer bond

Being grateful makes us more aware of good things as they happen (mindfulness) you can build a habit of counting your blessings just by paying attention each day to things you're glad you have in your life, taking time to thank people, when was the last time you told your family members or friends how grateful you are that they're in your life, often we can leave doing this until it's too late and we have lost the opportunity.

Some things you could do to start bringing more gratitude in your life

  • keep a journal of three things you are grateful for each day and why - remember to reflect on these the next day.

  • write a letter of gratitude to someone close to you or a work colleague

  • if you work in a school get the children to write a note to teachers

As you reflect on all the things in your life that you could be grateful for, experience the warmth that gratitude brings even deeper feelings of love, compassion and understanding into your heart.

A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. inspirational quotes magazine

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