This time of year normally focuses on gratitude. With Thanksgiving being a holiday that focuses solely on celebrating recognition, it is nice that people take time to express gratitude to their loved ones. But wouldn’t it be great if we were grateful every day? I’ve been practicing a daily gratitude challenge for almost a year. I will admit that I’ve missed a few days here and there, but I personally don’t think that matters as long as I always push myself to begin again.
P.S. That’s a major life lesson for me. I used to always dwell on my failures and sit in a pile of guilt for days but it’s much more pleasant and productive to forgive myself, let it go, move on and begin again. It’s that simple.
Back to gratitude. Each morning (that I’m successful in completing the gratitude routine), I write down three things that I’m grateful for. I make a point to pick 3 different things than I picked in the last few days. I feel that when I am forced to choose different things to be grateful for, I have more of an abundance mindset. It’s pretty amazing to reflect on my journal entries from the past week and see 21 unique things that give me a sense of gratitude and ultimately happiness.
I do have hard days when I would rather wallow in self-pity but I try to remind myself that the bad days are when this practice is the most beneficial. For example, I have dealt with chronic neck and back pain for at least 10 years. I also suffer from migraines occasionally that includes blurred vision, debilitating headaches and vomiting. When I have a really bad day, the things that I usually choose to be grateful are:
My husband. He’s always sympathetic and will literally drop everything he’s doing to get me whatever I may need or want.
My dogs, Max and Lexi, who always snuggle with me on the couch when I’m not feeling well.
My health. In recognising that there are some people that can’t walk or use their arms, I am so thankful that regardless of what I’m dealing with, I do have pretty amazing health.
My home. In it’s quiet and comfort, it’s the place I want to be when I’m feeling crappy.
A flexible work schedule! If I’m too sick to work, I’m incredibly lucky to be able to cancel work at a moment’s notice.
Access to healthcare. Not everyone can say that and though it should be a necessity, I do think it is a luxury that I’m fortunate to have.
Medication. Unfortunately the only way for me to survive a migraine is to put myself into a drug-induced coma for about 4 hours (I promise you that I’ve tried every natural remedy but if you feel inclined to send me some suggestions, go ahead).
See if you can incorporate this into your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be done in the morning and it doesn’t have to take more than 5 minutes. I normally write down my “greats” in the morning because that is when I’m most likely to keep a daily commitment and because it sets the tone for my day. I normally have a more positive outlook for the rest of my day. If have more than 5 minutes before I have to get to work, I’ll also write down three things that I’m excited for and some intentions for my day followed by meditation for 20 or 30 minutes.
I’m grateful for all of you for being here and I hope you have a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and pumpkin pie and a LOT of whip cream on top!
My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I am a certified yoga instructor with a passion for yoga, travel, and connecting with others.
I believe in trying everything once. My values lie in collecting memories over things. Though we desire adventure and authentic experiences, naturally our fear holds us back.
My ambition is to inspire and encourage you to unmask your fears and jump into the unknown.
Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Travel Designer