13 Sep Grounded in Gratitude…Building and Growing Your Gratitude Muscle (Part I)
Face it…sometimes we lose track of our blessings and take it all for granted, or get complacent and become disingenuous with our thanksgiving. I’ve personally sent up some waning. distracted prayers. We’ve all had days when we’ve just bounced from frustration to disappointment to anger, forgetting all sorts of good things we have going for us. Peace is a direct correlation to gratitude.
I know, I know; gratitude is a pretty big concept to tackle. So, I broke it down into two parts—internal and external. In this first post about (one of many I’m sure), I’m talking specific blessings, and how to regularly hit pause to gain a deeper appreciation of them.
In my next post (don’t worry, I’ll remind you when it’s published in October), I offer some activities involving other people, so you can work out your gratitude muscles in your daily life. That’s right, activities because gratitude is action-oriented…yep, action and I promise it’s simpler than you think. Okay, so, let’s explore a few ideas on how to stay grounded, connected to gratitude, and genuine in your appreciation.
1) Celebrate even the smallest things. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t need a reason to celebrate. When I’m eating out with friends and the waiter asks if we’re celebrating something, I’m quick to say, “Life, love, friends, choose one or all” with a shoulder shimmy. So, choose one of your 5 senses (hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, tasting) and honor one of those senses with something amazing. And, amazing doesn’t have to be extravagant; for example, your favorite ice cream works just fine for taste or carving out 30 minutes to catch up on your favorite book (audio or hard copy).
Side note: I am always extremely grateful after a hard, sweaty workout leads me to a warm shower. Big ups to indoor, temperature controlled plumbing. We don’t think about it often because we’re privileged, but I’ll tackle that on another day.
2) What goes in comes out. What I mean by that is you should surround yourself with things that help you focus on being grateful. Music (also ties to one of the senses) is one of these things for me. I am focused more on being thankful when I listen to Kirk Franklin than when I’m listening to Migos. Not that there isn’t a place for Migos in my playlist, but Kirk’s music puts me in the right head and heart space to really think about my blessings and internalize my gratitude.
3) Doing the very thing you love to do. The next time you do that thing that you live for, the thing that means so much to you, consider why you able to do that thing. Maybe it is physical ability; maybe someone made a way for you do what you love; maybe mental fortitude allows you the opportunity to do what you love. Whatever the case, find the root cause for why you can do what you enjoy, and in tracing the causes to why, take a moment to give thanks for each of them. Honor the highest and best in you by remembering how those things came to be.
4) Take a drive down memory lane. The hubs and I just celebrated fifteen years of marriage. So, to commemorate this, we did a video shoot.
Sidebar for context and a brief history of “us”: We love each other dearly, recognize how blessed we are to have each other, understand that we are different but we fit together, and spend a good chunk of time together each day working and hanging out.
Okay, back to my point, so the videographer suggested in addition to the recently recorded material, we should send over some pictures/video that provide insights into the things we like to do from the past. As we began to dig through old photos and watch old videos, we both were teary-eyed remembering all of the love we shared and how blessed we have been, even through life’s challenges. The stroll down memory lane brought the history of us back to our remembrance and it felt so good. It was different than our daily love for each other…it was unbridled gratitude, complete soul tingling, heartfelt appreciation for who we were and what we have grown into. Taking a moment to pause and revisit the past can bring evoke unbelievable gratitude and thankfulness.
If you’re ready to spend some time working out your gratitude muscles, pick one or two of these suggestions and try them out, or create your own and share them with me. This list will get you started with some internal work to center and focus you, but stay tuned; the next one will help you work on your gratitude by incorporating others into your journey. In the meantime, in all ways and always, give thanks.