In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to share some words on gratitude since it’s the day we are supposed to get all thankful and appreciative and all.
First, gratitude isn’t just a Thanksgiving thing. It’s a state of being. We really should all be practicing gratitude every day.
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I’m all about gratitude. I constantly highlight the important of gratitude in my coaching programs, in my blog posts, on social media (especially on Thankful Thursdays in my free fitness community), and in the messages I send to my insider email crew in my newsletters.
I myself practice gratitude by journaling daily at least three different things that I’m grateful for, things that range from a comforting cup of coffee in the morning, to a walk I took that relieved some stress, to a lesson learned with a challenging client, to how strong my body felt during a tough workout, to something kind that someone did for me.
I also truly believe in the sentiment that happy people aren’t the ones who are grateful, but that it’s grateful people who are happy.
I know this because it was AFTER I made gratitude a regular practice and not just something I expressed around the Thanksgiving table, that I became a happier person overall.
I stopped comparing myself so much to others and started appreciating more things about myself. I became better equipped to recognize the positives as opposed to focusing on all the negative stuff or things out of my control. I became much more comfortable feeling like what I have is enough and that I can live more presently and joyously.
So if you aren’t already prioritizing an active gratitude practice, I really do recommend starting. Even if it’s setting your timer for two minutes at the end of every day and brain dumping a quick list.
But sometimes, life just gets in the way of gratitude, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, life gets in the way hard! It throws us some pretty tough shit; the worst of the worst.
And I will be the first to tell you that when my world flips upside down, my first inclination is not to run to my cute little gratitude journal and start writing about pretty flowers outside of my window. Hell to the no.
When life throws us shocking situations and unimaginable heartbreak, gratitude is pretty much the LAST thing that comes to mind. Nobody’s out there saying, “it’s okay, I’m actually quite thankful for this pain!”
But as we work through the tough stuff, we can rely on the foundation of our regular practice to pull us out of some pretty bad slumps.
We know that good has made it its way to us before, and so we can trust that it will find us again. We can will ourselves to believe that despite whatever it is that’s going on, some type of awesomeness WILL find us again.
When we are going through tough things, whether it be a betrayal, break-up, a shocking discovery, or a loss of any kind, we can choose to go through the motions of our days feeling sad and angry. Resentful. That every little thing is out of our control. Powerless really.
OR, we can choose the alternative. We can choose strength. We can choose to be honest with ourselves about our emotions, let ourselves feel, and ask for help when we need it… because choosing strength doesn’t mean burying our feelings and pretending they aren’t there. It’s the exact opposite actually. It means leaning in and finding and using the tools that can help us grow; tools like vulnerability and gratitude.
This will hands down be the hardest Thanksgiving yet, but I am still choosing gratitude. I am thankful I had a gratitude practice down before this to make it a little easier to do.
I am beyond thankful for my health, my body and what it can do, my work, my coach, my community and followers, my friends and tribe, my family, my husband. I’m extra thankful for all the people who have shown me immense kindness, friendship, and understanding in the past three months.
When life flips upside down? That’s actually when we need gratitude the most.
AMEN Athena! It’s ironic but it’s exactly the toughest moments in life that have ultimately made me the most grateful. Thinking of you this Thanksgiving. It’s the beginning of a holiday season that, like all, will be very difficult for many. May we live today with an extra dose of appreciation — not focusing on the time we don’t have, but for the time we have on this earth with those we love. They are precious moments — each and every one of them. ?