One of my main philosophies when it comes to health is that health is a state of being, not just a destination you reach or achievement you accomplish. While setting and achieving goals is also a …
One of my main philosophies when it comes to health is that health is a state of being, not just a destination you reach or achievement you accomplish. While setting and achieving goals is also a crucial part of living a healthy life, if we get too wrapped up in the destination, then we spend most of our time feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed because we are focusing on the past or future instead of living in the present moment.
Balancing the present moment with our health goals is a delicate dance, and one of the best practices I’ve found to help me navigate this dance smoothly is gratitude.
Gratitude is commonly talked about, but often overlooked. Can being thankful or showing appreciation really make us healthier? It seems too simple and unable to provide the results and benefits claimed.
It’s hard to believe that simply recognizing what we are thankful for can help us shift our mood, emotions, and physical sensations at any moment. I even find myself doubting its capabilities in the times I need it most.
I first learned about practicing gratitude in 2018 when I started my online fitness coaching business and over the last five years, I’ve personally found that actively practicing gratitude is one of the fastest ways for me to shift my state of being.
Our human brains operate through the lens of a negativity bias, which means we look for things that have gone wrong or for danger around us. This function has done a great job of keeping us alive, especially in the past when it was more difficult to survive. Today, this bias still has benefits but doesn’t need to have so much power. Gratitude is one way we can shift the lens we see our lives through from mostly negative to being a little bit more positive.
Gratitude is a crucial part of my daily journaling practice. Sometimes, I keep it as simple as writing down three things I’m grateful for. Sometimes, I’ll go on for a whole page. The point is not that more is better, it’s to allow our bodies to truly feel grateful for the things we are mentioning.
If we just go through the motions in our mind and don’t extend the feeling to our bodies, we miss the point. Occasionally I’m able to feel gratitude in my body after writing down three things and other times it takes longer, and therefore I keep writing until the way I’m feeling changes.
If I’m unable to write at the moment, I will speak out loud to myself or in my head what I am grateful for. I used this practice even while writing this article. I was feeling overwhelmed by my deadline and it felt difficult to write easily. Just a few seconds ago, I sat back in my chair and spoke a few things I am grateful for until I could start to feel my body settle and the anxiety start to fade away.
I am grateful for the ability to write these articles and to share my message with you, and shifting to that perspective rather than sitting in overwhelm made it so much easier to finish writing this article in a state that feels good in my body.
Practicing gratitude really can be simple. What are three things you’re grateful for right now? Write them down or speak to yourself and see if you can get your state of being to change.
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