It is the week of Thanksgiving and gratitude is all around us. And as a person who is committed to a daily gratitude practice and credits that practice with creating the space for a shift out of the worst of my health crisis I look around at this time of year and wonder if people are enjoying the season…or just plain tired of hearing about “gratitude” all the time.
I know, believe me, that it is NOT always easy to be grateful. Sometimes it just feels like we’ve got nothing to be thankful for. But believe it or not, that is exactly why it’s so important to make gratitude a regular practice, especially when it’s hard. What we’re trying to do is shift how we relate to ourselves, to each other, to the world. We do that by challenging ourselves to change; changing our programming changes us. It’s that simple. It’s that powerful.
Don’t just listen to me, I mean everyone is talking about it — and not just this week — all the time. Oprah, Oz, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, look past chapter 1 of any personal development book and I guarantee you’re going to find the author telling you why gratitude works and why you should be doing more of it.
But what is a gratitude practice, really, anyway?
There’s no mystique around gratitude. Giving thanks is all around us – and not just this time of year. It is as simple as:
- saying “thanks” – for your coffee, to the person ringing up your groceries, to – the person holding the door open for you at the store
- seeing the good in what you have, focusing a little less on what you don’t
- pausing to reflect on the food before you before you start to eat (good ol’ fashioned saying grace)
- creating space to include more of what YOU are grateful for – time with family, a warm bath and a good book, things that make you FEEL grateful, not just the act of SAYING you are grateful
Try it. Commit to a five minute, dedicated meditation on gratitude each day for a week. See for yourself. And see even better by tracking it — both our online tracking apps have a spot to track and measure your gratitude? Watch how your sense of gratitude affects all other things in your life in the time it takes to logon and adjust the slider.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
This week, I am excited to share a guest post from my friend Ashley Donovan. She writes about her experience with a gratitude practice and shares six ways to help you build your own sense of gratitude.
Enjoy – and thank you Ashley.
xo ~ Lindsay
With the holiday season right around the corner we are all thinking about what we want to get, what we want to give and how we will be able to afford it. There’s a lot of traveling, parties, over-eating and over-drinking.
A good way to stay connected with ourselves during this season is through gratitude. After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?
Why is gratitude so effective? It works because it reframes our minds from “I don’t have enough money” or “I wish I had a thinner body” to “I am so grateful I have a roof over my head and food to feed my family” or “I am so thankful I can walk, see, hear, touch and taste.”
We sometimes forget that not everyone has food, shelter or clean water. Or we take for granted our physical capabilities that not everyone has. We are all unique, we are all to be celebrated and we are all special. Just having a roof over our heads or eyes to see is enough to be grateful for.
I know I am grateful for each and everyone of you for taking the time out to read this. Thank you!
To sum up my 21 day gratitude challenge, here are six ways you can start to incorporate a gratitude ritual everyday:
1. Write out 5 things about your body that you are grateful for and that you love.
2. Find a couple of big challenges in your life and see the positive side. You can begin to be grateful for the hardships when you begin to see that without it you may never have grown or learned a lesson.
3. Write out a list of people that you are thankful for being in your life – friends, family members or even strangers (the garbage collectors? Think about a world without garbage collectors! I know I’m thankful they pick up my trash.)
4. Bless your food and be grateful for healthy foods that you enjoy!
5. Call up your mom, write a letter to your best friend or turn to your significant other and really thank them for being in your life. Tell them a few things you really love about them.
6. Be grateful for the air that you breathe, the life that you live and the unique gifts that you have. You are a miracle and you are perfect just the way you are. Celebrate that!
Here’s a favorite quote that so perfectly sums up why gratitude works:
“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” – Unknown
Ashley Donovan, a mom and a nutrition and health coach (www.Ashley-Donovan.com) understands that there is no “one size fits all” approach to wellness. Her sweet, refreshing take on “self-care” is going to warm your heart and inspire you to listen to your own inner guide. Ashley has been a huge supporter of our campaign to spread “Chronic Wellness” and was excited to share this guest post with you all.