5 Ways to Increase Gratitude

Increasing gratitude doesn’t seem like such a hard task, does it?  Well for many people who live in pain daily, it is.  But what if, just for the next 4 weeks, you focused on other tasks instead of your pain.  Maybe you thought about ways to increase your fitness for a week, or to eat beautiful and nutritious food the next week, or ways to help create balance in your life and help deal with your stress, and lastly you increased your self-care.  These are actually the steps I started taking when I took back my life from pain.

I began looking deeply inside my soul for true and honest answers to questions that needed to be asked.  I developed a series of workbooks on these tasks and questions to help others, but you can read more about that under my Head|Heart|Health tab.  I am here to offer you some free resources on ways you can increase gratitude in your life right now, no matter what is going on.  Remember who you are talking to here??  trust me when I say I really and truly understand that the first step is often the hardest one to take.

Let’s deconstruct this for a moment.  Gratitude is feeling thankful and appreciative for people, things, and sometimes everything in between.  That warm feeling you get when you drive up to the coffee window and someone has just paid for yours, or the random man in the grocery store, for whatever reason, hands your family a $50 bill, and says it’s on him.  <<< this happened.  So if other people are creating experiences for other people like this, no matter what is going on in the NEWS my friends, let’s not promote what we hate.  Let’s work to increase feelings of gratitude in ourselves and therefore in others we encounter through our positive actions.

5 Ways to Increase Gratitude:

  1. Say thank you as your feet hit the floor.  Are you in pain?  No offense, I totally feel you, but for just a second, shift your thoughts right now as you get out of bed.  Whatever your dominant foot is, as you swing it over the bed, the second it touches the floor, say thank you.  Say thank you all the way to the bathroom, because that’s where you probably go first.  Focus inward as you really let the words thank you settle into your entire being.  This gets you ready for the next tip.
  2. Using a dry-erase marker, write your positive affirmations on the mirra, that’s southern for mirror, and immediately look at them as you are waking up.  I don’t know what others need to hear, but coming from 3 years of re-setting my mind to focus on others things instead of pain, I can tell you what I used.  I am healthy (I wasn’t), I am whole, (I didn’t think so), and I am healing (I was, but couldn’t see it yet).  So I would think to myself I am healthy and envision a healthy me for just a moment and be grateful for that health.  I would picture myself whole, which to me at the time was without pain, anger, and depression.  Lastly, I would see myself as healed.  Someone my girls could look up to again.  Not the pajama-clad fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, well you get the picture, mom I had become.  Again, it was all about changing my perspective.
  3. Journal it down.  My writings at first were not really full of gratitude.  They actually seemed full of other feelings that I was trying to get away from.  So instead of that, I cut myself loose from anyone and anything that created the opposite of what I was really and truly trying to create for myself in my life.  I started un-becoming everything I was not.  I created a pattern of healing for myself by first going to the worst parts.  I deconstructed my fear.  Then I didn’t look back.  I wrote what I was happy about each day until gradually, I didn’t think about what went wrong as much.
  4. Yoga or meditation.  Yes, eventually, after all the pain, I became a yoga teacher.  But I started out slowly.  We all have to start somewhere, remember?  Here is a post about what I did to start my journey, so you can read a bit more on restorative yoga.  This allowed me to still the patterns of my mind and practice an age-old flowing meditation.  Please don’t mistake yoga for something it is not.  It is not a religion.  It is quite simply a method for dealing with the suffering of life.  As I started meditation, one yogi told me it can be your time to get closer to God or whatever you believe by listening to your inner wisdom that actually can be God trying to talk to you.  It is simply a way to practice mindfulness and inner stillness in this very face paced world.
  5. Practice pausing in your day.  This one is very important because so often, we react first.  What if what the other person said to you actually wasn’t about you at all?  Yes, it feels that way all the time.  I am a Scorpio who is quick to anger…need I say more?  What if, for just a moment, the hurtful feelings we got from the e-mail, message or phone call, was paused.  Like on TV.  Okay, now we have a moment to look at it.  You know what, Bob looked stressed out today didn’t he?  I wonder if he has too much on his plate and someone already chewed him out, so when he sent this, he in turn, did the same to me because that was the energy he was feeling?  I don’t have to continue the pattern.  This isn’t even about me at all.  Maybe I will go around the corner and say hey, Bob, what can I do to help you?  Bob will certainly be surprised.  He may even start to feel grateful, as well as sorry, but that’s his stuff, so I am going to promote what I love instead of bashing him right back.

Research has shown through decades of studies, that practicing gratitude can, in fact, have powerful and lasting effects on physical well-being, social relationships, and most importantly self-worth.  So often we get caught in a cycle that needs to be broken, and guess what happens when we take back control?  Research again reports that we develop stronger immune systems, better sleep, and less pain and aches.  Well I’ll be…an example of this.  From not moving to yoga teacher…I hope you start some of these practices today!   Need even more help?  Try this E-book here.

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