Did you know that your mind could only hold one thought at a time? This is why I feel gratitude is a great act of self care because it helps shift your mindset and energy. I am a believer of “energy flows where the mind goes”- this goes with how the mind can only hold one thought at a time. While you are focusing on gratitude of the experiences you are going through, you are shifting your bodies energy and mindset. I can have a whole other blog about energy, but for now lets get back to practicing gratitude. It has been shown to improve physical health, mental health and enhance self esteem and resilience.
Have you ever practiced gratitude when feeling blah or like life is not fair? It’s hard right?
The past few days have been very challenging, I was in a funk. I felt blah, I had a lot of things going on at once, and most of all I felt disappointment and frustration. It was not an easy task to get out of this mindset. I tried to use all my self care tools that I had in my tool box: journaling, meditating, reiki, essential oils, running, yoga but none of those really shifted this blah feeling. Then I realized I needed to let myself feel it, instead of burying it- I cried, I vented, I let it out in order to let it go.
It was very challenging to feel grateful when I felt disappointment and frustration but I recited what I was grateful for anyway and focused my energy on these thoughts. I began to list the things I am grateful for from the small things to the larger. After doing this I felt a little better. Have you ever heard the saying “fake it til you make it?” So I continued, I recited what I was grateful for in my thoughts, on paper, out loud multiple times a day while using my young living essential oils and taking deep breathes -all of this was a form of self care. I tried being gentle with myself and allowing myself to feel these hard emotions without judgement. Practicing self care and mindfulness is like a muscle, it takes practice and consistency.
Here are 5 simple ways you can add gratitude to your self care routine:
- Start and end your day with gratitude. This can be out loud, in your mind or written form. Find a time that works for you and/ or incorporate it into something you already do. You could even do this while you are brushing your teeth. If this doesn’t work try to think of 3 things you are grateful for- you could use a post it note somewhere easily visible as a reminder. You could also use a gratitude rock as a visible reminder to practice gratitude if you do not want to use a post it note. I also find it therapeutic to hold the rock and roll it around in my hand while thinking of what I am grateful for.
- Have a gratitude journal/ jar or box. This will get you in the routine of practicing gratitude daily. Some prompts could be what did I do for myself today? What made me happy? or What am I grateful for experiencing? Notice something new that you are grateful for or try to list different things.
- Write a note of gratitude to someone. This could be as simple as a thank you for supporting me and helping me with my paper or as long as you like with details about all the reasons you are grateful for this person and how they impact your life or the lives of others.
- Gratitude reflection during a walk this can be anywhere from 2-5 minute walk to any longer length you feel fit. You can use this walk to disconnect from technology in order to be present in this moment. Take in how it feels to walk and observe all the sights, sounds and smells use all of your senses. While walking you can begin to think about and reflect on what you a grateful for. If you’d like some prompts you can start with what you are grateful for in the immediate environment of your walk, then move to individuals you are grateful for, finally moving inward to thoughts of what you are grateful for about yourself.
- Gratitude meditation is a visualization meditation of all you are grateful for. Find a comfortable seated position to start, and draw your attention to your breathing and then take in some deep breathes with your eyes closed. You do not need to clear your mind, you just want to focus your mind. If your mind wanders acknowledge that and bring it back to what you are feeling grateful for. During this meditation you can show gratitude to things like your health, ability to breathe, legs and feet for walking and movement, sense of touch and feeling, vision for seeing, etc. You can also show gratitude for people, animals, and things in your life. When meditating and focusing on the gratitude of each, be sure to pause to really focus on it before moving on to the next.