Your Gratitude Roadmap
Today, I invite you to find your gratitude roadmap. But first, it would be amiss for me to ignore that I launched Momivational during 2020. While I could list all of the turbulent and devastating events that have transpired this year, I won’t. Everyone has access to the news. If you want to be surrounded by negativity, turn on the TV or your phone.
When you do, it’s easy to be sucked into the tornado of recent events and feel tossed about emotionally like a helpless rag doll. However, we do have control over some things. The most important, our reaction. It’s one of the most significant character traits I wish to instill in my children.
For example, we have the choice of turning off the TV or putting down the phone. But when we are exposed to the negativity (by choice or other) it’s imperative we open the awareness of our own reactions. This includes events, things, and people. When we do, our entire world is transformed from a black and white scene to a symphony of vibrant, shimmering colors.
While this transformation sounds impossible when the room is so dark you can’t see your own hand in front of your face. Hopelessness and despair can be all-consuming when there is no hint of light. However, one little feeling, even if it’s tiny, can begin to brighten your space. And maybe it will be enough to allow us to dance through life happily and effortlessly. That feeling is gratitude. But how do you reach that level?
Feel the Gratitude
It’s easy to say thank you as someone holds the door for you or brings you water. But do you feel it? When is the last time you really felt grateful? Did it take a near-miss accident while driving or did your child almost run into a street with a car speeding but a neighbor caught him? The feeling of gratitude can be felt throughout the day and we should be looking for it on a daily basis not only after scary experiences. The feeling of gratitude can start with something as small as a warm cup of coffee, the sun shining, or someone’s kind words. If you are struggling to figure out what you’re thankful for try this: imagine your life without something that you love or enjoy: people, pets, places, things, or needs (think home, running water, food). That feeling is your gratitude roadmap.
At first glance, this next step seems awkward. But trust me, it’s not. You’ve likely heard you can’t love others without loving yourself or take care of yourself before helping others. It’s the same for gratitude. It’s imperative to feel appreciation for yourself and your life. Sure you could say the words, “Thank you, self.” However, there is a better way to appreciate yourself. Give thanks by taking care of yourself and start with moving your body.
In 2020, Netflix subscribers increased to 10.1 million between April and June. That’s a total of 190 million viewers worldwide. Are you one of them? Or, maybe you’re working from home, like me. The body hurts. Scrunched over a computer all day or binge-watching TV series does nothing for the mind, body, or spirit. Instead, take care of yourself by taking action. Start with a walk around the block, a bike ride along local riding paths, or an exercise class at your gym. Getting your heart rate up regularly will awaken your entire being. Science proves exercise boosts levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters in a positive manner. In other words, exercise plus positive thinking is life-changing. Give it a try.
Do you have an inspiring person in your life (a boss, neighbor, teacher)? Take a close look at the people around you. Maybe you’ve been taking someone for granted. It’s time to spread joy. Sending a simple thank you note will not only make someone feel appreciated but it will help YOU step outside yourself. Most importantly, the “thank you” doesn’t need to be physical. It can be for a listening ear, a kind word, or telling someone one you always look forward to their cheery smile. Other ways to say thank you: tip the coffee barista, pick wildflowers and deliver to a helpful acquaintance, or take a friend to lunch. There really is no right or wrong way to say thank you. As Nike says, Just Do It.
When you look back at your life, seeing all of the blessings is a beautiful gift. Feeling gratitude, thanking yourself, and thanking others is something you don’t need to wait to do. Taking action is the only way to move forward in life. Don’t wait.