I found myself sick, depressed, negative, bitter + all around miserable. After a year marked with illness, I made a decision to rediscover myself in 2022. I am coming out the other side of this year having gained a whole new perspective on who I am and a different way that I think. One thing really affected me in a deep, lasting way - let me share a bit about one thing that has changed my life.
Last December I literally went on a mission - to rediscover my happiness, find my center, + find my health again. I read as many books as I possibly could, listen to podcast, reflected on myself + went to work. That pursuit lead to having found the power of GRATITUDE.
During that year of illness (and into 2022), I noticed that one of the natural strengths that I possess (positivity) had turned completely upside down. And then it began to burrow into the deepest, darkest places I have ever experienced. I began to seen things through such a negative lens instead of the positive one that I always had experienced - seriously, all things were negative + it all areas of my life were deeply darkened.
Did I have reason to feel negative? Yes! Should I have worked differently to find a way to shift my perspective? Yes? Was it okay that I sat in those dark places? Also, YES! I can see how it has become 100% an opportunity for growth + without it I would not have come to understand a GREAT DEAL of what I have learned in the process of climbing out of the years darkness I experienced.
Here's the deal - ONE the greatest things I did this year was begin to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude can be the simple, life changing practice that you have been missing - it is that powerful. My personal practice is truly simple - I have developed what works for me - I am in awe of its power + the ease in which it changed my thinking.
To put it simply, gratitude makes you happier. We all want happy, right?
HERE IS WHAT GRATITUDE CAN DO:
- It can change your brain (for the better)
- It boosts your mental health
- It can help you see the little things + the beautiful, missed blessings
- It strengthens relationships
- It lessens levels of stress + anxiety
- It eases depression
- It can boost self-esteem
- It boosts your physical health (Grateful people are healthy people)
SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE THIS:
(Please remember that growth comes in different ways for everyone - practice one or multiple. The key is consistency + giving yourself grace to learn a new practice.)
START BY OBSERVING. Since new practices can be overwhelming, starting simple is always the best practice. The goal is to make the practice of gratitude stick - so start simple. Try watching for the things that you can express gratitude over. If the thing you are grateful for is because of someone else, speak that truth to them in the moment (if possible) - sharing your gratitude is powerful for you + for them.
SELF APPRECIATION. Start by saying ONE thing that you appreciate about yourself. Okay - this can be hard, especially if we are naturally hard on ourselves, HOWEVER it is so important to see the beauty that we possess within ourselves. We are created to experience, see + create beauty. Once you have established the routine - add one more appreciation. Grow the practice and watch is heal pieces of your soul.
JOURNALING. This is one of my go to ways of expressing gratitude. I simply write my thoughts in a very free form, flowing method. Sometimes it is a complete mess - but it ingrains in my mind what I am grateful for and WHY!!!
THREE GOOD THINGS. Along with the journaling - each night write down 3 GOOD THINGS that went well in the day. Writing three things down clears your mind, helps you sleep + gives you all the good feels that you need.
SPEAK BLESSINGS. Make someone feel loved + special. Experiencing the beauty of gratitude is powerful - connecting with people is powerful.
MEDITATE. Simple mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment without judgement. BREATHE PRAYER is my favorite form of meditation because it is simple and can be done anywhere. In its simplicity Breath Prayer goes like this: 01. Find a comfortable space + close your eyes. 02. Find + focus on your breath. 03. Breathe in using a name you are comfortable using when addressing a creator. 04. Breathe out with a request or a need. EX: breathe in, “Jesus”, breathe out, “be my day”. REPEAT for 3 minutes if you can.
MORNING GRATITUDE. Start with a gratitude affirmation each morning (you can find some affirmations HERE). When you have your daily grateful affirmation, find ONE way to practice that affirmation throughout the day. There is a quick example below this list.
MORNING GRATITUDE EXAMPLE:
Finding gratitude can transform your life. It is a practice worth investing in + it is such a simple way of growing + allowing that growth to develop you in your authenticity. Please remember, that this is a practice that takes time to develop. Be intentional, consistent + open.
YOU'VE GOT THIS.