The upcoming holidays made me reflect on an interesting shift that happened a few years ago, when I realized that when I was in my control mode and things had to be just so, I put my traditions above connection and fun. I was terribly stressed out and making everyone miserable. The truth is - I was exhausted through most of the season.
Isn't it interesting that during the time of year that is dedicated to love, peace, and the harmony of family gatherings, that most of us feel more stressed out, chasing a long list of expectations with a never ending "to do" list before the holidays.
Once I changed this mindset and brought peace and calm into how I handled the holiday season, I felt happier and I know my family is just as happy.
Another thing that I am putting more time and effort into is being grateful, not just around the holidays, but counting my blessings, each and every day.
In the car yesterday, I was reminded by how mainstream the idea of learning to be grateful has become. There was a whole hour on the radio where the host asked expert researchers about the importance of gratitude and what it does for people and callers shared the one thing they were grateful for from 2017.
So as this year is coming to a close, keep this question in mind: What is the number one thing that you are grateful for from this past year? I would love to hear your answer!
The practice of gratitude forces us to be more aware and mindful of the moment. It requires us to reflect and recall something positive and bring your awareness into your body, how you thought and felt about it in the moment. How did you feel about a hug from a loved one, the beautiful sunset, the warm water on your skin in the shower, the chocolate cake your partner made for you, the smile on your childs face when you took an extra moment to encourage him, the purring cat on your lap...All of these are examples of things are only felt and acknowledged in the moment.
Because of our hardwiring, it is easier to be negative than positive. It takes time and effort to shift our mindset and we do that by focusing and starting to look for the good things in our life. I know there have been times where that was hard but, no matter what, most of us can find something good, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem at first. This is a very powerful practice and over time is how you create new positive feelings and healthy habits.
Something especially helpful if you are going through a hard time is to write a list every day, of 5 things you are grateful for in you life and spend the day reflecting on it.
Right now, I am feeling grateful for my family, the season, the colorful leaves on the trees, my friends, and the trips I have taken this year, and you, my friend. If you are reading this, I want you to know that I appreciate you - more than you will ever know.
But the one thing I am most grateful for this year is the time I have spent in nature. I rediscovered that nature was and has always been my sanctuary. I feel so blessed by the strong connection I feel that helps to ground me in my body and gives me access to something much greater than myself.
I would love to hear from you all, whether it's about practices of gratitude or mindfulness that you use or the thing you are most grateful for over the last year. Don't be afraid to reach out and start a conversation with me about your answer!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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