Back to Basics Part 5- Living in Gratitude

Our last two blog posts in this Back to Basics series are going to hone in on the internal health of each of us. These mental and emotional wellness habits are foundational to true and full wellness.

Wellness, like anything needs to be held up at all times. You must daily be sure to drink enough water, that you got some movement into your day, that each meal is nourishing, that you set yourself up for good sleep. Wellness isn’t something you can rest on. It’s continual and should be laced into each and every part of our lives every single day. Our mental and emotional wellness follows the same path, and is even more important. A day out of the gym is one for rest and recovery: a good thing, but day out of the habits and rituals that keep our hearts grounded is the opposite. It’s a risk to fall out of peace, alignment, and gratitude.

Ideally, gratitude should embrace everything we do and encounter throughout the day. This is a mindset built overtime that I don’t believe we ever stop striving for. Each waking moment should be filled with thankfulness for what that moment is. That can feel really hard to wrap your mind around, especially if the reality you exist within is a tough one. So start small. Intentionally build gratitude into your everyday. Gratitude journaling is a great place to start. They can frame your everyday so you begin and end in gratitude. You can purchase gratitude journals online or at bookstores or you can make your own. Mine is homemade and filled with six sections: three for the morning and three reflective ones before bed.

The first section is an open-ended sentence. Today, I am grateful for…

Aim for at least three things here. Some mornings these are big things that flow easily to me right after my meditation. Today, I am grateful for… my home across from the lake and the beautiful tribe of people pulling for me all across the country. Other days they’re gratitude for the small. Today, I am grateful for… a good night’s sleep, that the sun in shining, that I am breathing and healthy. Some days may begin in that deep sense of gratitude. Other days may begin harder and you have to guide yourself into gratitude. That’s when you begin small and usually physical and then allow that small ball of gratefulness to grow into the intangible. Gratitude for your eyes that see, your lungs that breathe, and your legs that walk soon flows into an upward spiral of gratitude for all around you and all that you are.

The second section is a question. What would make today great?

This is a space to set intention for your day. A mix of physical duties and emotional or spiritual duties usually show themselves here in my gratitude journal. Having a great workout, eating balanced and nourishing meals, turning to God with frustrations that arise, continuously monitoring self-talk to keep my mental space clear, keeping my space organized. Think on your most fulfilling days and decide how each day can be manifested into greatness.

The third section is daily affirmations.

This space in my gratitude journal stays the same through various seasons and then alters during times of need. I am love, I am well, I am worthy, and I am abundant are grounding affirmations that set the tone for each day. Through tougher times, I am resilient or I am radically responsible for my destiny may make appearances. In this space think on what you need to believe that you are and affirm to yourself that those qualities are already within you.

The first three sections above are intended to set the tone for your day. The following three sections are reflective on the day itself and are for right before bed.

Section four is another space for gratitude. Tonight, I am grateful for…

Meditate on the day you had. Did you have a safe drive to work? Was your partner extra supportive? Did a friend call? Did you have a good workout? Were you able to give help today? What lead to you accomplishing a task? Tonight, I am grateful for alone time with my partner, that my body is capable and healthy enough to carry me through a workout, that I maintained a positive and peaceful mindset, and the inspiring people around me.

Section five is for gratitude in the tangible. Three amazing things that happened today:

I published another blog post, I stretched my body, I helped my partner to ease stress. If you’re just getting into the habit of applying gratitude to your days, you can start small here as well. I drank enough water today, my body carried me through my day, I filled out my gratitude journal. Begin the habit of living in gratitude for the small things and the big ones.

The final section is another for self-reflection. How could I have made today even better?

For me, sometimes this space is filled with internal things and sometimes it’s filled with external things. I could have been more patient in this situation, I could have monitored my thoughts better, I should have stretched, and I should have read before bed instead of Netflix. It is important not to allow this space to turn into negative self-talk, but rather to focus on it as a space for improvement. You’ll quickly begin to recognize habits you live in. Stretching and reading instead of some distraction almost always make my list. It shows me what is important and where I need to place extra intention on my actions to live how I intend.

Additional things that I sometimes add into my daily gratitude journal are reminders I need in that time. “I surrender” is often gracing the top of my page and said out loud during my journaling routine. “Be strong and courageous” and “This is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it” have found homes in the extra space of my gratitude journal as well.

Begin the habit of living in gratitude. Create a ritual that is what you need and mend it as you grow and change or face hardships. This five to ten minutes in the morning and evening will frame your day in gratitude and only lead to more manifestations of things to be grateful for.

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