We have had quite a year, have we not? Despite everything we’ve been through in 2020, from the pandemic to politics, there’s something profound and positive that has emerged.
It’s almost like the universe pressed the pause button for us. And honestly, would any of us voluntarily hit that pause button for 8 months? I’m gonna say no and maybe that’s part of the magic.
When things change in ways we could never have predicted, there’s a massive opportunity for gratitude and personal growth. Through the lens of gratitude, all of the things we might have taken for granted because they were just part of our “normal” become precious gifts. Our frontline healthcare professionals, teachers, delivery men and women, grocery store clerks, and essential workers are all individuals we will likely never take for granted again.
For so long, gratitude has been a winning formula for me. And it’s not just me, there’s plenty of scientific studies that assert that cultivating the ability to be actively grateful for big and small things can vastly improve the quality of your life.
There is something incredibly uplifting, powerful, and energizing about choosing to focus on what’s right in our lives. In this episode, I’m giving you 3 simple ways you can harness the power of gratitude.
What is gratitude? According to Harvard Health Publishing, it’s “the thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.¹” Gratitude is the acknowledgment of what’s good in our lives, both within ourselves and outside of ourselves.
Gratitude can be a great connector of people, especially in the times we’re living through right now. It’s easy to focus on what is wrong and on the things we’ve missed throughout the pandemic, but it’s so much healthier to consciously work towards a more holistic view and acknowledge the things we’ve gained as well.
That’s not to imply we should emotionally bypass all or any of the hardships or losses we’ve experienced. It’s equally important to honor how you really feel, plus learn how to self-soothe in a healthy way and take a moment to focus on gratitude for the things that still bring you comfort and joy. As human beings, we are fully capable of holding and experiencing different emotions simultaneously.
It’s Thanksgiving this week in the US and most of our celebrations will look different than they have in the past. Our gatherings might be smaller, virtual or socially distanced, but we can still choose to embrace gratitude. (Since our grown kids + grand babes live all over North America, Vic and I have decided to pick up Thai food and snuggle up for a movie marathon. I am simultaneously bummed and excited, illustrating my previous point about conflicting, coexisting emotions.)
A regular gratitude practice can improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. People who regularly experience gratitude are healthier than those who don’t.
So how can you be grateful for what’s right in your life right now?
Here are 3 simple steps to get started (you can also download the guide right here):
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal and Use These 3 Q’s
Take the time to reflect and/or journal on these simple questions each night to build your gratitude muscles.
- Who or what inspired you today?
- What brought you comfort?
- What brought you joy?
2. Write Gratitude Letters
Think about your life experiences and the folks you feel particularly grateful for. Then put the names in a list. When I first did this, it really energized me because I realized there were people in my life who had no idea how much they positively influenced me and, in the case of a high school guidance counselor (who wasn’t even assigned to me!), truly impacted the way my life ended up. (Check out the episode to hear that sweet story). I’m sure you have those people as well.
Write an old school, snail-mail letter, or card of gratitude. It feels really good to spread positivity and good vibes out into the world!
3. Try a Walking Gratitude Meditation
Meditation creates more internal space for feeling grateful. Whether you are a meditator or not, I invite you to try a guided walking meditation from davidji.
It’s designed so you can pop in your earbuds, get outside and get your Zen on. You can listen to it right here. (the meditation starts at the 5 minutes mark)
davidji was my original meditation teacher over ten years ago, and I was always just able to understand him – he made meditation click for me. He helped me understand how meditation was impacting the other 23 hours of my day.
I would love to hear what is on your list of what is right in your life right now. If you liked this episode, do me a favor, share it with someone you’re grateful for! I am grateful for YOU. I hope you have an amazing week, if you’re in the US have a beautiful Thanksgiving and as always take care of you.