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Practicing Gratitude

I'm switching up gears this week and talking about something I feel is important, especially now...practicing gratitude. A couple weeks ago, I posted a quote that said, "Gratitude helps you fall in love with the life you already have." As a matter of fact, studies show that when you practice gratitude or "count your blessings," it can have positive effects, including promoting loving feelings, happiness and joy.

Daily gratitude, even of the smallest gesture is said to improve health and build stronger relationships.

It's been nearly a month since we closed up shop in March, and this quarantine life hasn't been easy. However, being out of work and spending time with family has really opened my eyes up to things I normally would take for granted.

I have a gratitude journal and books to keep me productive. However, the one thing that calms my mind when its cluttered with chaos, is practicing yoga. Now, I will be the first to tell you that I'm not as consistent with practice as I should be, but when I move and stretch my body, it allows my mind to shift gears and it brings a sense of peace. My gratitude for practicing yoga in the morning, allows me to be present in that space, for all of the 25 minutes I need to just chill and meditate. While everyone in the house in still sleeping, it helps me decompress and prepare for the day ahead.

We just spent our first Easter in our new home. When I woke up Sunday morning, I felt a whirlwind of emotions. Happy, sad, excited, stress and uncertainty. This past week had proven to be a bit challenging. We had a few meltdowns at my house, laughs, cries and anger all rolled into one, big, giant ball. Sometimes irritation would set in over the littlest of things... like for example, when the kids would misplace the remote, or dishes left in the sink after I just finished washing them, or when my husband walks in from work and forgets to take his shoes off. (I clean when I'm stressed, and on occasion have been known to completely lose it in the form of short adult tantrums...lately, I've been doing a lot of it). I needed an outlet, and so I resorted to the only thing that made sense, the only way to get out of this funky stage of slight depression and anger. I needed to start my day with gratitude.

You know how they say moving your body gets the juices flowing...well, yoga is the one thing I can count on, and not feel like I have to constantly look over at the clock, and rush through a workout. When I begin my morning practicing, (and trust me when I say, there have been days I just don't feel like doing yoga) at the end of every session, I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. I'm in a better mood, my spirits are lifted, and it sets the tone for how I envision my day is going to look like.

On Easter morning, rather than dwell in my negative soup of emotions, I closed my eyes, thanked God for another day, said what I was grateful for and then grabbed my yoga mat. I knew my day couldn't start without some form of practice...and what better way to practice gratitude than yoga, especially on Easter morning. Needless to say, not only did it turn out to be a beautiful day, but my family and I spent most the afternoon playing outside, recreating another Easter egg hunt and filling our bellies with way too much candy. I'd say the day couldn't have gone any better!

Whatever form of gratitude you decide to practice, the outcome is always going to be positive and rewarding. Gratitude plays an essential role in everyone's life, in different ways. It's an escape from life's stressful allows us to reset our minds and rearrange our priorities.

The practice of gratitude whether you choose to move your body, read, write or say it out loud, is considered one of life's many blessings. Maybe for some, while we are all at home staying safe, this is a blessing for them. The one thing I know for sure though, is that without gratitude we have no appreciation for the little things in our lives that fill us with abundance. Gratitude is the one constant that keeps us in check with ourselves and with our loved ones. So whatever form of practice you choose, gratitude is not only good for your soul, but for your mental awareness as well.

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