5 Daily Practices of Grateful People

5 Daily Practices of Grateful People

“The most abundant lives are the lives full of gratitude.”

 

The number one complaint I usually have about my own children is how ungrateful they often act. My daughter can give a nasty stare when she’s not pleased to know we’re having Sloppy Joes again, and my son melts to the floor like slime when he’s asked to take 1 minute out of his day to put away his toys.

But honestly, how can they help it? Most children don’t see their parents practice gratitude on a daily basis. And it’s hard to be grateful when things are handed to you. How can our children understand what gratitude is or how to practice it, if we’re not practicing it as well? I can’t count the times I whine about my job or silently curse the laundry and dishes (okay, not always silently, sometimes very loudly).

We can’t just tell our children to be grateful, we’ve got to show them how. We have to teach them gratitude is more than saying thank you. The most abundant lives are the lives full of gratitude.

Here are some daily practices of grateful people!

 

1. Gratitude Journaling

Keep a gratitude journal to reflect simple thoughts of gratitude. This is a very easy task, even if you don’t like to journal. There are even special journals you can buy for this or you can just write in a notebook.

Every day, take 1-2 minutes to write what you’re grateful for. It can be as simple as the weather, or as deep as spending time with a loved one. If you do this every day and strive to write something new each day, you will begin to see how much you really have to be grateful for. It’s a great idea to have the kids do this as well. Dot it together!

If you’re not so fond of writing down your thoughts of gratitude, practice out loud. In my house, at dinner time, everyone states 2 good things that happened during their day. It’s important to give ourselves daily reminders of what we’re grateful for.

 

2. Choosing Not to Compare

Social media is the worst when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. I’ve seen countless photos and read hundreds of status updates that make my stomach sink and my brain say, I wish I could go to Disney World. I wish I could afford a new house. I wish my kids behaved that well. I wish my job was that awesome. I wish… I wish… I wish…

Keep in mind, for the most part, people only post the good stuff. With the exception of a few extremely honest friends, people usually don’t keep Facebook updated on their divorce, or post an Instagram picture of their failed exam, or Tweet about pills they’re addicted to, or Pin pictures of the ugly cake they just decorated.

Nope. We usually wallow in sorrow, alone.

Your life is uniquely yours. Stop obsessing over how everyone else seems to be doing so awesome and focus on what’s good in your life.

You can use social media to do this as well. How often do you go to your own Facebook wall or Instagram page to scroll down through all the awesomeness that you’ve shared with your friends? Take a minute to notice why others might be jealous of in your life, and be grateful for it. You can even turn it into a book!

 

 

3. Being Present in the Moment

I’m totally guilty of not doing this. I might be looking at my phone, and trying to make plans for the weekend when I faintly hear the sound of my son’s voice. It’s not that he’s talking quietly, it’s that his voice is muffled by my own thoughts.

Mom.

(louder) Mom?

(LOUDER) Mom!

It’s like an episode from Family Guy. Then I half listen to what he has to say and shoo him away.

Being present in the moment is difficult. We’re often reviewing in our heads what happened yesterday, and going over what needs to be done tomorrow.

Make a conscious effort to slow your mind and notice your present surroundings. Put down your phone and be where you are. Is what you’re doing valuable? Who needs you right now? How can you make the present moment more loving, more kind, more fun?

If you’re at work, then work without thinking about what needs to be done at home. If you’re at home, be present for your family and stop worrying about work. If you scheduled time for yourself, don’t bother yourself with guilt, but be fully present in enjoying your me time. Use your time as you intended it. Worrying about what needs to be done in your next slot of scheduled time only harms your present focus.

Be grateful for the now and take advantage of it’s intended purpose.

 

 

4. Being Mindful of Your Internal Language

This practice can be tough because you have to catch yourself in the act. Think about all the times during the day when your mindset turns negative. Maybe it’s when you get up for work, but you don’t want to go. Maybe it’s when the cat pukes on the carpet, and now you have to clean it up.

As these things occur throughout your day, remember to stop and notice your thoughts and then consciously make a new, positive one.

After you think, I’m too tired. I don’t want to go to work! Replace it with, I’m grateful I have a job because it allows me to do fun things with my family on the weekend!

After your thought of, I’m sick and tired of the stupid cat puking on the carpet! Replace it with, I’m grateful for my cat because she gives me love and cuddles with me at night.

There must be a good reason for your job, and a good reason for your cat. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have them. Remember the good reasons and be grateful for having them.

 

 

5. Saying Thank You to the Good and the Bad

This was the toughest practice for me until I heard Tony Robinson say something like, If you’re going to be grateful for all the good parts, then you better be grateful for all the shit, too. Why? Because it’s responsible for who we are.

Are you proud of who you are? Then you need to say thank you for all the bad stuff too because it MADE you. Be thankful that your parent was an alcoholic or drug addict. Be grateful you were in a terrible car accident. Say thank you to that asshole who stole your credit cards. These people and events may have devastated you at the time, but they are a piece of your unique puzzle. If they weren’t part of your life, you wouldn’t have quite the perspective that you do. You would be a different You. You may even be a softer, less badass you.

The next time something seemingly negative occurs in your life, try to stretch yourself into thinking how it makes you better. And, when enough time has passed, say thanks and be grateful for it.

 

Once we’ve mastered these daily practices of gratitude our mindset begins to shift into a new, more positive perspective. Since our actions often reflect our thoughts, not only will we feel more grateful, we’ll start to act more grateful.

Our kids pick up on our attitudes about life whether we want them to or not. If we practice gratitude, eventually our kids will be grateful too.

 

 

 

The Mindful Way I Lost The Hardest 10 lbs of My Life (Hint: It Has Nothing to do with Food or Exercise

The Mindful Way I Lost The Hardest 10 lbs of My Life (Hint: It Has Nothing to do with Food or Exercise

“Your attitude about food affects the way the food affects your body.”

 

I feel like the title of this blog post does not portray the gravity of those 10 lbs. They were the most stubborn 10 pounds in the history of my weight loss! they finally came off  just as I was about to give up…again.

 

My Stubborn Weight Story

I don’t mind talking numbers so I’m just going to be straight with you. I was a comfortable 170 pounds before my first child. I gained 30 with pregnancy and I immediately lost 20 after birth. My next child was a very large baby (9lbs 10oz. Natural. I should get an award, right?). I gained about 40 pounds. I also lost about 20 with him after birth, and then managed to take off another 10. There was a big gap between my 2nd and 3rd child (7 years). I gained weight, I lost weight. But in the end, I gained weight.

My third child, born almost 6 months ago, was a girl and I gained about 25 pounds, which put me at 235. And oh boy was I excited to immediately lose that first 20 pounds like I did with the other two babies. However, that’s not what my now 30-year-old body exactly had in mind. Somehow this baby, the smallest of all three, did not require as much blood and tissue as the other two. Maybe that’s why she was the most painful to carry.

The day after I arrived home I stepped on the scale. You know what it said? 2-2-6. That’s right, folks. 2——2——6! Seriously?! 9 pounds? WTF? My child weighed 7lbs 6oz. Did I really eat the rest of that weight?

To my body’s defense, the next 6 pounds steadily fell off. But when I hit 220, probably 3 months ago, my body decided that’s where it wanted to be and that’s where it shall stay.

I, however, knew otherwise.

 

What Didn’t Work

I tried like hell after baby #3 to lose weight. Now, when I say, “like hell”, what I mean is I tried in my own way- ways that worked for me before my body’s metabolism shut down. I’m not a fan of exercise but I will incorporate walking and stretching or beginners yoga. I focus more on my diet. I really wanted to get back under 200 just for the simple fact my clothes would fit again. I restricted calories, I limited carbs, I ate clean, and I incorporated movement. But a week after every new tactic started, I weighed myself and observed no change. So, I felt sorry for myself and then I tried a new tactic the next week.

I didn’t know what I was going to do. These tactics always worked for me before. I knew I could always go hardcore with diet and exercise. I completely understand that food and exercise are a huge part of weight loss. If I maintained a strict, clean diet and went to the YMCA an hour every day, I would absolutely lose weight. But I also understand that I will not realistically maintain an intense diet and workout routine in my daily life for the rest of my life. It is so important for me to do something that I can consider a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix.

What I’m Learning

The most important information I’m learning in my health coaching courses is that health is not as simple as what you eat and how much you move. Health is your overall well-being. It’s how the physical, mental and spiritual parts of you connect to make a whole. One of them affects all of them. Your mental and spiritual health can, therefore, influence what is manifesting in you physically.

If I’m holding onto something physically (my weight), it’s possible that I’m holding onto something emotionally or spiritually. If I want to release the weight, I’ve got to find and release my emotional or spiritual burden.

 

What Finally Did Work

Once I realized that the parts of me you can’t see are affecting the parts me you can see, I decided to change the way I approached my weight loss. It’s no longer about hating the weight and punishing myself for not getting it off; it’s about exploring myself and focusing on the mental work of healthy living as well as the physical. It’s being mindful of my whole being. And it’s being mindful of how I feel about food and my body.

Here is a list things I do now, in addition to the diet changes and movements that work in my life.

 

1. I Think About It

I began with the mental/emotional work. I ask myself why I have this problem. For me, this meant journaling about my fears. For you, it could be as easy as just asking yourself a question and spending the week chewing on the answer.

Through a helpful journal exercise, I realized I may be subconsciously trying to keep my weight on. The pounds are protecting me from my fear of succeeding in something completely out of my realm (business ownership). By keeping the weight on, I get the great excuse that my future clients won’t take me seriously. Analyzing your thoughts helps you get in touch with the real obstacles you may have not even considered yet.

 

2. I Visualize the Negativity Leaving My Body

Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you move mountains in your life. Visualization is one of the things I do now when I’m not feeling well, or in this case, when there’s something about my body I’m wishing to improve…such as the ability to lose weight. Here’s how it works for me:

* First I relax and close my eyes.

* I Take a deep breath, in and out, and imagine an outline of my body in my mind.

* I visualize the negative energy or particles in my body that I want to be rid of. For me, it looks like my body is filled with tiny black dots. And for me, these dots either represent negative emotions, a sickness, or a system in my body that’s not working properly. Remember, your vision may look very different.

* I visualize the black dots leaving my body for good.

* I visualize a very bright light entering my body, reenergizing me, and replacing the negative energy or particles that were there before.

That’s it! I do this once or several times depending on how long I’ve had the problem. I honestly feel like it helps me to heal issues much faster. Visualization exercises help your mind to accept and believe in what you want to be true.

 

3. I Take Deep Breaths and Repeat Affirmations

Affirmations are specific phrases you repeat to yourself to help change your mindset and energy around a specific issue in your life. I will often do this in the shower while I’m washing my hair or at night before I fall asleep.

Since I’m struggling with weight loss I might take a deep breath and then say, My body is healthy, my body is clean, my body is light. To me, this represents the systems in my body working properly, making it easier for the weight to fall off, and easier for it to absorb nutrients. Repeating affirmations is your way of letting the Universe know what you want and the action you’re taking to get it.

 

4. I Am Grateful For and Have a Better Attitude Towards ALL My Food

This goes back to how our mental state affects our physical state. If we believe the food we are putting in our bodies is bad for us, then it will be. If we have a better attitude about the food we eat, are thankful for it, and believe it is nourishing us, it will be better for us.

I either make a mental note of how thankful I am for my meal or in some cases say it out loud with family. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a Big Mac or a Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad. Your attitude about food affects the way the food affects your body.

I have a great new Journal for Wisdom Wednesday discussing this very topic.

 

5. I Don’t Look at the Scale (As Much)

This one is big and requires more paragraphs.

I don’t know about you, but I can get pretty caught up in that number on the scale. It was the only way I knew to measure my success. Sure, we all want to lose weight because we want to be smaller, and we want to be smaller because we think it will make us look better. But who the hell cares if you look better when you’re suffering from Type 2 Diabetes or Heart Disease? Looking better isn’t the REAL reason we want to lose weight. What we want is to stick around longer, travel after we retire, play ball with our kids, and not die of a completely preventable disease!

Once I realized this, I stopped making the scale a part of my routine. I stopped torturing myself with watching the numbers go up and down and letting the entire emotional fate of my week rest on that number. Weight isn’t the end goal. Health is the end goal. It’s time we learn to measure our health success in other ways. The number on the scale is just a perk. The pounds will inevitably fall off as long as you allow yourself to sink into your new healthy mindset, and stop focusing so hard on the negative ideas.

Yes, I did eventually look at the scale. I had to, to write this post. But I didn’t do it until my body felt better. I waited until my clothes were feeling lose, my appetite and cravings weren’t so strong, and I noticed a change in my reflection. I used the number on the scale as a point of reference, and not as a goal.

 

Mindfulness has turned into a huge concept for me and the way I view healthy living. Our belief systems play into EVERY aspect of our lives. Are you having trouble taking that next step in weight loss, or are you trying to set other health goals but always seem to fail? Spend a week focusing on being mindful of it. Try the exercises above and let me know how it plays out in your life.

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