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What is a mala?
Are you asking yourself what a mala is? Simply put, it’s a divination tool for a devotional practice. Malas come in different forms but all serve a similar purpose. You likely know what a rosary looks like, you’ve seen people wearing bead bracelets (sometimes multiples of them at one time) or a bead style necklace made of small gemstone beads. These are all forms of malas.
Using mala for a gratitude practice
If you’ve been writing down your gratitude every day (or even as part of your Gentle 75 challenge ) You can elevate that practice with a mala. I use a bracelet form. I have a moonstone bracelet with 18 beads plus the guru bead.
Why using this method elevates your written practice is that by eliminating the distraction of your vision when closing your eyes, you can deeply focus as you hold your mala and move your finger over each bead. As you speak your gratitude for each thought then move to the next you feel very connected to what you are doing with this method. You know you are finished when you’ve done your 18 bead gratitude statements and feel the guru bead as you finish the circle (or length of the 108 bead necklace). You need never open your eyes during this meditative process.
How to practice gratitude and mindfulness
If you have days where you draw a blank you can use your mala to chant one single mantra as you go around from start to finish. Quieting your mind is enormously beneficial whether gratitude results from it or not.
You can focus your gratitude on a specific area of your life and challenge yourself to all the ways you appreciate that area. Let’s look at some examples:
Your body, consider all the ways your body allows you to move through life and how it makes life possible.
Your family, how your relationships enrich your life.
Your business, ideas, resources to learn new things, marketing, relationships you’ve built because of your business, fulfillment.
Your home, feeling safe, your access to running water, temperature control, food storage and preparation, the comfort of furniture, clothing, electronics.
A hobby or talent you have and cultivate.
Pets and how they impact your joy.
The many ways nature enhances your life an the world around you.
Appreciation for the divine.
Building gratitude to impact all areas of your life with a mala
Challenge yourself to be expansive with your gratitude practice so it is filling every area of your life you want to build or maintain. Changing how you see things, even the challenging things will improve your life in countless ways.
One way to build on this idea is each day of the week focus on a single area of life and do your mala gratitude session focused only on that. Try not to repeat any statement to really push yourself to find even what are the seemingly smallest things. If you are in a desert even the smallest drop of rain is a big deal.
You brain likes to work. Ask it to help you on this. “How can I see more blessings around me?” It won’t take long until you have the answers in front of you. It’s a great exercise. I use it for all sorts of things when I feel stuck with work, ideas, etc.
How to use mala beads for anxiety
Using the methods already mentioned above combined with finding positive affirmations around the source(s) of your anxiety to shift your brain is helpful. For instance, if you’re anxious about your health say “I am actively working to repair my ailment.” If you’re anxious about being social , “I know most people are kind and will welcome meeting new people,” then add a quality you value in yourself and add that , “they will enjoy my sense of humor/how caring I am/ stories I have to tell.”
Once you start your mind will lead you to the right thoughts which will further expand your practice. It’s a wonderful way to both start and end each day.