By: Angelina Waterman
Finding little ways to incorporate gratitude in your life will lead to happier days for yourself and the people around you. The way you think affects the way you feel. The way you feel in turn affects the way you act.
Showing gratitude is a daily practice. This time of year as the holidays approach, gratitude is definitely brought to our attention. We have 4 ways to show gratitude, everyday and all-day. Gratitude is more than saying “Thank you” and giving gifts to others. Gratitude can also be something we direct within. How can you show gratitude for yourself everyday, all-day in easy ways? Here’s how:
1) Bring your attention to your breath.
How lucky are we to get to greet each day with a breath. The breath is truly our life force and our life source. By bring attention to your breath you take the time to really get familiar with it. You start to notice the quality, pace, texture, temperature…The list goes on! Take the time to utilize the breath as a tool in ways that best serves you. In times of uncertainty, the breath can bring you peace of mind. And when you are fearful, it can invite in confidence. By bringing your attention to the breath you take in and breath you release out. Say aloud or to yourself, “Breath In” as you inhale and “Breath out” as you exhale. You can also do this while visualizing the pathway of the breath through the nose and out the mouth. Taking more intentional inhales and exhales at any point in your day will help facilitate appreciation and a heightened state of calm.
2) Take your time eating meals.
Food is your body’s fuel! How often when we eat, do we take the time to be present? What do I mean by that? Do you take the time to truly enjoy all that our food has to offer when we eat. Food is nourishment and also provides healing to the body. Take one bite at a time and enjoy the smells and flavors. Have you ever wondered where your food has come from? Have you taken the time to think of the process to prepare your meal? Taking the time to think who made the meal. Mindful eating gives us the opportunity to pay attention to our bodies and appreciate the eating process. Feel free to share your gratitude out loud with family and friends or simply pause for a few silent moments before starting your meal. An example that was shared with me,
3) Move your body.
Whether you are stretching, dancing or running, moving the body in ways that feel good is the goal. A body in motion is a happy body. When we move, we increase blood flow through the body and release endorphins. Regular exercise can improve your energy and overall outlook of life. Set an attainable goal to move daily. Give yourself some grace if the duration or activity differs daily.
4) Clean up after yourself.
Organization is actually a way of nature. Our body’s crave order and neatness to support good health. The human body is made up of thousands of integrated biological and neurochemical systems, all of which are organized and operate on regulated schedules. Without this strategic body organization, it would collapse.
By cleaning up the things that matter to you and tending to the space you spend time in, you show gratitude for yourself, your space and belongings. The way you interact and treat the people and things around you, is a reflection of how you treat yourself. Having a tidy home will allow you to feel more restful. We all know the satisfaction of entering a perfectly clean space. It is nice! The great thing about this goal is you can dedicate however much time you have to do this.
5) Tell yourself thank you!
We show our gratitude for others by giving compliments, doing favors and giving gifts. What about you? How do you show gratitude for yourself? Let this be a reminder that you have permission to celebrate your wins. Find a way to say “Thank You” to yourself even when things do not go your way. You can say things like:
- “Thank you self for following your boundaries.”
- “Thank you self for the opportunity to learn something new.”
- “Thank you self for this opportunity for growth.”
Acknowledge your accomplishments, big or small! You are on a journey to greatness and acknowledgement of the things that YOU made happen is something worth celebrating.
It is just as important to express appreciation for yourself as it is to show thanks for others. The power of gratitude extends to your mental and physical wealth. The feelings of gratitude also extend beyond this holiday season. When you reflect on the good in your life, you can’t help but feel happy, accomplished, and excited for the future. These tips to show gratitude are easy enough to do daily, no matter where you are or how much time you have available. Which one are you likely to try first?
About the Author:
Angelina J. Waterman is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and yoga instructor born and raised from Queens, NY. She has been a San Diego resident since 2013. She earned her M.A. in clinical psychology and has experience using behavior strategies to help individuals learn why they do the things they do. She currently provides in- home intervention and creates treatment plans for children diagnosed with developmental delays and their families. Angelina also teaches hatha, vinyasa and restorative yoga classes that include guided-meditation and breathing exercises accessible to all-levels. She has experience working with adults and adolescents in one-on-one and groups settings. Angelina uses the science of behavior analysis and yoga to help support individuals in their journey for meaningful and long-lasting behavior change to be the best versions of themselves. As a mental health advocate, Angelina is very passionate about helping others achieve mind-body wellness through healthy behavior change.