The Practice of Self-Gratitude
That’s right, it’s the time of year when everyone reminds you about how grateful you should feel. Helpful, isn’t it?
Most of us do feel grateful in the course of an average day and many of us are even good at expressing it. Some of you might even have a regular gratitude practice or journal. We all truly have so many things to be grateful for — and since you’re reading this, we all owe gratitude to a teacher and most likely having had a safe place to learn.
Gratitude is an amazing tool to change your perception and even your health. Don’t believe me? There are all kinds of studies and articles written about it. Seriously. Go google it. I’ll wait. … You didn’t google it did you? Okay, fine. I did it for you anyway.
As a brief sampling: a Harvard Medical School article praised gratitude and touted it’s health benefits, an NPR morning edition aired around this time last year about the effects on your heart, and even Forbes magazine wrote an article praising the ways a gratitude practice can give you an edge.
The studies all say that a gratitude practice not only feels good, but it is good for you. It can actually make you a happier and healthier person. Gratitude, at its core, makes what we have enough.
True, this type of gratitude practice can be a selfish thing, so I highly encourage you to go out and be truly thankful by showing solidarity and kindness to all. By all means, let’s spend the next month being thankful and expressing it to friends, family, and strangers every chance we get.
Maybe even add in the other popular buzz word for this season and be giving. Give of your time, your money, your love. Give in whatever way you can. Trust me, you’ll feel better for doing it.
With all of this thanks and giving going around, we all too often forget to be thankful and giving to ourselves. Showing yourself gratitude — even in small ways — is truly an important act of self care and self love. One most of us overlook.
Over the next few weeks I challenge you to show yourself gratitude. That’s right, you read that correctly: I’m telling you to do something incredibly selfish this holiday season. Think of yourself. Thank yourself. Give to yourself. In doing so, you will remind yourself that you are enough.
Stumped on how to do it? I know, it’s harder than it sounds… Here are three ideas to try:
- Make a list of five things you like about yourself. No seriously. Go write it down or put it on a note in your phone. Look at it in the morning. Add to it as you see fit. Hopefully by the end of the month it’s a much longer list. Anytime self-doubt creeps in and your internal dialogue turns negative, read this list back to yourself.
- Take ten minutes every day to do something for you. I know. It sounds so easy. So why isn’t it something you’re already doing? It can be early in the morning before anyone wakes up, during naps, or even a random ten minutes you find yourself alone. Spend this time meditating, reading, on a walk, taking a quick shower, drinking a whole cup of coffee while it’s hot, or whatever little pleasure you can squeeze in to ten minutes. What ever you do, don’t feel guilty about this ten minutes. It would defeat the purpose entirely.
- Cut yourself some slack, no one is perfect. Anyone who thinks they never make mistakes is delusional. Acknowledge where you went wrong, decide how you will change your response in the future, and let it go. Give yourself permission to move on and then do.
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