Take One Month to Reflect and Take Action
When you think about your life, what do you see?
- Are you grateful for your family?
- Are you satisfied with your job?
- Are you thankful for your home?
- Are you pleased with your health?
- Are you empowered by your voice?
November is the season of gratitude. It’s the time of year that we turn our attention to all that we have. The more things we find to be grateful for, the more things we feel thankful for! So often we focus on the big things, but what about your everyday needs that are met without any thought? Things like…
- Indoor plumbing
- GPS system
- Fresh clothes out of the dryer
Once you start to recognize all the things to give thanks for you find it’s the little things.
- Warm socks
- Snuggles with your cat
- Hot beverages
- Your breath
From the sight of a rainbow after a storm to an unexpected moment of contentment during a traffic jam, gratitude helps us keep in mind that things are better than we may have previously believed.
Learning to appreciate all that we have, from the roof over our heads to the people in our life, stems from all those times growing up when we were told to be grateful for all that we have. And it’s a hard thing to wrap our heads around because as kids, what we have is all we know. We aren’t thinking in terms of more or less, it just is. Once we start to understand what it means to show up wholly in our life, we begin to understand how big all the little things are.
The small things are the big things
We hear this word, grateful all the time. We are told from a young age how important it is, but what does it actually mean? How can you develop a sense of gratitude in your own life?
Life is moving fast. You have bills, deadlines, carpools, and schedules bouncing around in your head. You have relationships and goals that you’re working on. Who has time to think about gratitude when you’ve got dinner to cook?
Gratitude is a buzzword, and we all get the basics: seek out the good in life. Research shows how beneficial this simple practice can be for your mental and physical well-being. The feeling of gratitude is practiced through action.
Gratitude is a verb
Just like love and hate are things we feel, so is gratitude. It’s a practiced emotion. So by actively recognizing the good that surrounds us, we put gratitude into action. This recognition holds a transformative power.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” -Willie Nelson
Gratitude pulls our mindset out from negative viewpoints and into a well of good ones. Now that you have some ideas in your head, start identifying them in your own life daily. Here are 3 ways you can begin practicing gratitude today.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
How would your life change if every day you started and ended the day by writing out 3 things you are grateful for? When you start identifying what you are grateful for you start looking for things to be grateful for. Counting your blessings trains your mind to see the good in your everyday life. As a bonus, you can look back on your journal and reflect on the blessings of the past and watch how much it grows through the years.
Finish this sentence: “I am so happy and grateful now that…”
I can be anything you want. Writing out things you are happy and grateful for begins to attract those things to you. Bob Proctor gave us this nugget of knowledge in the widely successful movie The Secret. It’s one of the simplest ways to get your mindset into that of gratitude.
- Write Thank You Notes
When you begin to notice all the blessings of your life you will want to share this feeling with others. A great way to show appreciation is to write a thank you note. Nothing long or fancy, just a simple thank you is enough. When you take time to write out a thank you note it can boost your mood. Signaling a positive outlook on the world reflects back more positivity and gratitude. When you take the time to let someone know they are appreciated not only takes your mind off your own troubles, but it lightens the load of another.
Next time you’re at the store pick up some thank you cards to have on deck. Then when the moment comes you are ready. Don’t think about it, just do it. Either as an active practice of gratitude in the moment or take an hour once a week or month to commit to writing and sending a couple out.
- Breathwork in Gratitude
When you start to breathe deeply you start to connect to what is real and true in your world. It’s not always what you had in mind but it is always worth your time. Using your breath to breathe in gratitude helps create a cycle of positive energy moving in, through, and out of you. This type of mindful reflection teaches you to accept without judgment. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to accomplish so much and we often forget to slow down and appreciate all that we do. Breathwork is time to sit silently or with a recording that actively reduces stress.
When you think thoughts of gratitude and appreciation as you take mindful breaths we get the sensation that you are actively inhaling that which we are grateful for.
Try them for one month!
Give these 3 practices a try. November is a great time to flex your gratitude. Online challenges and games are everywhere this time of year and as we move closer to Thanksgiving we can reflect on good instead of commercial craziness.
If you are in the Seattle area, I’m hosting 3 90-minute Yin, YogaNidra, and Sound Healing workshops throughout the area the week of Thanksgiving to guide us all into a deep feeling of gratitude to be carried through the holiday season and beyond.