Making gratitude a daily habit
Hi lovely TLC-ers
In a recent conversation with a one to one client, she reminded that we have a lot to be thankful for.
She was struggling to get on top of an injury; it was wearing her down and she knew it. So I said, lets start each session with one small thing we’re each grateful for when it comes to our health and our body.
It proved to be quite transformative…
Practising gratitude provides a wonderful way to be present and focus on the people and things in our lives that we are thankful for and trains us to see the small, good things that are unfolding for us.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the wood from the trees, so often having a focus on small, good things can help light the path for us when things feel a little overwhelming.
So this month’s Lifetonic is all about how we can make a habit out of practising gratitude.
There are so many ways that practicing gratitude can benefit our health and wellbeing.
Researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. shares that people who regularly practice gratitude report stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure, greater feelings of optimism and joy, and healthier relationships, among many other benefits.
It’s easy to move through our days without taking the time to reflect on the positives, but a daily gratitude practice can transformational.
This is something that I have focussed on consistently throughout October having felt very disconnected from life this year; I’ve had to deal with a number of injuries that have held me back with my own health and wellbeing goals as well as my business goals. As a result, I feel as though I have made very little progress with anything this year and have felt a little bit low.
So I got myself a mindfulness journal and everyday in October, I started my day with 3 things I am grateful for to try and turn my mood around and it’s helped me in more ways than I have time to write down here.
So, to kick off our LIfetonic this month, I’ve prepared a few tips for ways you can practise gratitude this month and every month (this is now firmly part of my daily routine and something that has bred a new appreciation of mindfulness in me).
- Write it down! Keep a gratitude journal or a daily list of what you’re thankful for. No need to make it another ‘to-do’ item – just simply list 1 – 3 things each day that you’re grateful for and look at them regularly. I’ve been doing this first thing in the morning with a coffee, and right before I hit the mat for 10 minutes. It’s been transformational for how my day then unfolds!
- Make a mental note. Incorporate thoughts of gratitude into your daily walk or take some time in relaxation position before your pilates practice to mediate on a person or thing that day you are grateful for. A great way to start this, is to just set an alarm for 5 or 10 minutes on the mat and repeat the line: “I am grateful for this day” in your head along with some soft belly breathing. This is such a powerful way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and to help bring us joy.
- LOOK for the good! Continue to look for things throughout the day to be thankful for. The more you develop this practice, the easier it becomes. This leads to more positive emotions and improves your overall psychological health.
- Make it a family affair. Play the ‘Gratitude Game’ – I started this with my niece when she was about 6. We don’t do it all the time but when we do, it’s actually so uplifting that dinner becomes a whole different experience (try it and you’ll see what I mean!). All you do is go around the table and everyone has to share something, or someone, they’re grateful for from the day.
- Turn lemons into lemonade. Try to see something that would usually be negative and see if you can turn it into something more positive. This change in perspective and mindset can be truly powerful. In fact, it’s reported that those who do this regularly are better able to handle serious trauma and avoid post-traumatic stress and long-term anxiety!
The last two years have been tough on everyone; everyone’s nervous system has been altered as a result of the pandemic so making gratitude a habit is just one way we can tip the wellbeing scales back in our favour.
It might take a bit of practice as your first try to practice gratitude – at the start of October I was really surprised at how hard it felt for me to find just ONE thing to be grateful for but that’s a reason why I knew I needed to cultivate this as a habit. Stick with it for this month and you’ll see that it can become a natural part of your day—even a way to recharge and fill your cup again.
We often find ourselves going, going, going. But when we can take a moment to stop and think about how thankful we are for the special people in our lives, for our bodies and how they serve us, and for the small things in life, we get a chance to slow down and appreciate the good in life..
So, what do you say? Will you work on practising gratitude as a community this month? I’ll be giving you some prompts in our Facebook Group so stay tuned….
And by the way, just so as you know, I’m grateful for YOU more than you will ever know 😊
Have a great month