How to practice Gratitude, without it feeling too cheesy
This blog post is from the Newsletter I send out to my lovely clients. It’s a sentiment I’d like to share with everyone as we move into this New Year.
This month I'm thinking about Gratitude.
It may be one of the cheesiest words around; the mantra of self-help gurus the world over.
Yet when unwrapped and unpackaged, there’s gold inside.
So, may I present the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of gratitude:
This I can get on board with wholeheartedly. Especially at this time of year.
To light up the dark evenings, with hope, love and kindness, and to be thankful.
I’m feeling thankful for a year of watching Joe and Iris continue in their quest to become older and not much wiser. Time spent with my family and friends.
I am thankful for a full year of teaching and to all of you, for making my job such an absolute pleasure.
Sometimes, amongst all the rushing around, working, sorting out logistics and simultaneously caring for small people, its easier to feel stressed out than grateful.
As such, I thought we could take a moment to tune into it now.
Take a deep breath, and as you feel your breath fill your body,
feel yourself relax and come to a moment of stillness.
And as you breath into this moment,
with lovely long out breaths,
ask yourself what you are thankful for….
What comes up for you?
Sometimes it takes a while, but there’s something, maybe more than one thing, maybe many things.
And chances are, amongst it all, you may forget to feel thankful for yourself.
So now, I’d like to remind you to shine your appreciation inward.
Here's a starter:
Thanks to your feet, for covering so many miles at home, relocating objects from one place to another, for pounding the pavements and for keeping you steady.
Thanks to your legs, for doubling up as a seat, slide and rollercoaster for your baby’s delight.
Thanks to your stomach, for growing a human being.
Thanks to your heart for pumping oxygenated blood around your body and for all the love.
Thanks to your arms for the buggy pushing, baby or kid lifting, present wrapping and hug giving.
Thanks to your head. For the smelling, seeing, talking, smiling and for all the thinking.
Send your thanks to yourself and to others, inside and outside your home and to the world beyond.
If it helps, jot down some of these things, or anything else that came up for you. Put it somewhere you’ll notice them, as a reminder when times get tough.
Indeed, you could experiment with writing a gratitude journal to flex your positive muscle!
Here’s some evidence for why it’s is such a good idea. And don’t worry, it really doesn’t matter if you don’t do this regularly. Now and then is fine, and something is always better than nothing. In fact, one study cited in' ‘Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change’ suggests that doing it once a week is optimal, and that “several times a week led people to become bored with the practice, finding it less fresh and meaningful over time”.
So there we are, a good reason not to feel guilty about not keeping up with your gratitude journal!
And finally, how to boost your gratitude towards yourself…
I’ve recently learnt the power of writing down the positive qualities you’ve demonstrated in a day too.
So, when you do your gratitude journal, or just find yourself with a moment to spare in bed at night - instead of just writing down what’s good in life, include this too – patience, helping others, self care, ability to stop and breathe consciously in a challenging moment, kindness, strength, vulnerability…
All of the things that make you great, but that often go unnoticed.
Wishing you and all your family much joy and good luck for 2019.
Love Zoe x