As we start to settle in to 2021, it is the perfect time to reflect on what we are thankful for and what we desire to accomplish or complete this year. In 2020, we experienced a huge upheaval in the “normal” of our daily lives and routines. There is no “normal’ to go back to and even though we cannot control what happens in our external environment, we can control what happens within our internal environment. Our internal environment being the health of our body, mind, and spirit.
So I challenge you to practice 30 Days of Gratitude. It has been scientifically proven that taking the time to express gratitude helps to reduce stress. We can write it down, express it verbally, visualize it, or practice meditation. When stress is reduced or eliminated, we sleep better, improve our health, less mood swings and experience more happiness.
I love the phrase “energy flows where your attention goes”. This is a great place to start and serves as a reminder to practice being thankful for all of the things you do have and the beautiful opportunities that come your way on a daily basis, instead of focusing on what you don’t have. Your mindset becomes abundant with gratitude as a result.
By abundance I do not mean being financially wealthy. It entails being abundant in joy, happiness, and love. In your relationships, in your career, and in your health … allowing you to experience growth personally and spiritually.
Here are a few ways you can practice gratitude over the next 30 days:
- Start a Gratitude Journal
Every day, write down three things you are thankful for. Focus on what you are feeling as you write. Notice how great you are feeling. Visualize the experience as if you are experiencing it for the first time with a childlike imagination. You can say the words out loud as you visualize “I am thankful for the beautiful walk I had today in the park. I am thankful to have connected to nature today. I am thankful to see so many butterflies and be able to listen to the birds sing”. They can also be simple things. Write down how you’re feeling and what brings you joy.
2. Visualize and Dream
Form a picture or photograph in your mind. Focus on what you are seeing with your mind’s eye. This can be a memory or something you dream about. Write down how the moment makes you feel and if you’re comfortable, say the words out loud for what you are thankful for in those moments.
3. Draw it
if you have blank paper or a sketchbook, you can even draw or sketch out what you are thankful for. For example, if it was spending time with your family at dinner. Draw each person at the dinner table focusing on the expressions of their faces, the feeling you observed everyone having and what you were all doing in that moment.
4. Wake up Grateful
Before you get out of bed, think about what you are thankful for and if you’re comfortable, say it out loud.
5. Practice Meditation
Meditation starts with breathing so if you are new to mediation, you can start by practicing breathing in and out. Take deep breaths first with your mouth open and then with your mouth closed.
You can start practicing deeper breathing and meditation methods. Find a spot where you are comfortable. You can either sit with your spine straight or you can lie down on your back. Inhale deeply for 5 to 7 seconds then hold your breath for 5 to 7 seconds, then exhale fully for 5 to 7 seconds. Practice breathing through your nose and repeat this 4 or 5 times continuing to relax your body and your mind.
Once you are completely relaxed, you can visualize, dream, re-visit memories or practice gratitude through mediation. When meditating, allow your mind and body to experience the surroundings you find yourself in, hear the sounds, feel the feelings regardless of what comes in. When you’re ready, slowly bring yourself back to breathing in and out in your comfortable spot.
Find the length of time, and time of day for meditating that works into your personal
schedule. Some people like to meditate first thing in the morning. Others like to do it
before bed or during a lunch break. There is no right or wrong time to calm the mind.
Choose how you would like to practice gratitude. You can start with one thing that you are thankful for each day. I assure you that once you start, you will begin to see in yourself and in the world around you. Your eyes are opened to the abundance and beauty that surrounds you.
Others may notice a difference in you and ask you about the change. They may notice a spring in your step or that your eyes are glowing.
Choosing to live in gratitude is a way of being, a way to be present with others and yourself. You are not rushing, feeling impatient or stressed. Instead, you are feeling relaxed and living in the present moment.