I recently started a meditation challenge, and the task for the first day was to make a list of FIFTY (yes 50), people who have influenced your life. There were really no limits – the person could be alive or passed, someone from your daily life or someone you have never met. It was fun, but it also gave me the chance to reflect on people I haven’t thought about in a long time and appreciate what each person brought into my life, what I learned from them, and, if applicable, how am I applying that to my life presently. At the end of the list, my heart felt full and I was grateful for the memories I had of some amazing people that I hadn’t really thought about in years. There are seasons in our lives where we face difficulties or changes and at times like that, finding the things that we are grateful for – big or small -help us maintain those high vibes and keep your mindset focused, present, and even calm.
In fact, there are numerous studies that show a gratitude practice has both physical and mental health benefits. From reducing aches and pains to sleeping better and reducing toxic emotions like anger, frustration, jealousy – gratitude has a profound effect on your life. The good news is you need nothing – not even one single penny- to start your practice!
The first thing you can do is start to be aware of saying “thank-you” or other terms of appreciation when someone does something. I also like to use “I appreciate …” and tell a person that. Currently a friend of mine is spending a lot of time explaining Zoom and websites to me, via text. I mentally try to make sure I tell her thank you and how awesome she is – because she is! More often than not though, we think those things, but we don’t communicate them. Maybe it is because it is easier to respond “ok cool” or “ok thanks”, when really our head is like “damn you are so awesome because you just saved me 3 hours of Google and frustration, you rock!!!” Check in with yourself – be aware of how you are thanking people. Tell them how awesome they are, thank them genuinely. It doesn’t even have to be a huge gesture the person made – it can be as routine as someone holding the door for you. Maybe next time though instead of nodding, you verbally say thanks and offer a smile. Give it a try, see how it feels.
Another way you can cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”, is to write down three things each day you are grateful for. This can be in a journal if you have one, or a planner. The reason I enjoy this one is because on days that I wake up and feel like the world is against me and everything is awful – I am forced to shift my mindset. I can honestly say after about two years of consistently writing down what I am grateful for, daily, that I have seen the impact on my life. I even approach things in a different way and I feel less stressed. Throughout the day I recall that list or I mentally add to that list. I actually would encourage you throughout your day to make a list of things, mentally, that you are grateful for. Being thankful for a favorite meal, getting up early, completing a workout – thank yourself or whatever higher power you need to for those things.
What it comes down to each day is this – we are 100% the creator of our thoughts, both our beneficial and useful thoughts and then also the not so pleasant ones that really just become obstructive in our daily life. Choose what you want to focus on, and it will expand – for better or worse.
Have an amazing week – do what you do and do it well! Namaste 🙏