You say you “get” gratitude…but do you REALLY? This isn’t some self-help soap-box I’m on; this is for real. Gratitude will lift you up unlike any drug out there. If you “get” it, you’ll DO it. To learn how, read below.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let me first say, I am indeed grateful for you, this wonderful Semper Sarah community that has grown and flourished this year. Your support, your encouragement, your emails, your feedback, your Facebook comments, tweets, and positive vibes – it’s da best – and I love it! 🙂 Thank you.
Now, I know it’s Thanksgiving weekend and all, and most people have been taking part in some sort of daily or weekly gratitude ritual throughout the month. I think that’s great except for one thing – November shouldn’t be the exception to the rule. And frankly, mindfully expressing gratitude – especially for those of us who are stressed out and/or trauma survivors (so pretty much everyone) – is one the simplest and closest things to a quick-fix you can do.
I’ll try to KISS (Keep It Simply, Silly) it with 5 main points:
– Cultivate gratitude – Block out TWO minutes in the morning and TWO minutes in the evening to make a list of the many things in your life that you appreciate. Take more time if you’d like, but start small if you must. Review your list and offer thanks for all you’ve included. Taking stock of your life’s many gifts and expressing appreciation will clear the path for even greater good to flow into your life.
– “Gratitude is an attitude” – trite, but oh so true. We absolutely, 100% have the choice to determine our own mindset about how view the world around us. In my book, Just Roll With It (due out in a week! Whoo hoo!) the Empathetic chapter theme is “cultivate your attitude.” Gratitude is very much a part of empathy because if we live un-gratefully, we often get stuck inside our own heads and compare, compete, and self-defeat instead of offering compassion, understanding, and sympathy to others. I think gratitude strengthens our overall awareness and bolsters our ability to be fully present. And being present is POWERFUL.
– Be Engaged&Excited (another chapter in my book, by the way) – it is of paramount importance to foster connections and live your life with passion. Being ungrateful is a soul-zapping, energy suck and there’s no way you’re going to be out and about engaged and excited if you’re stuck on the hamster wheel of self-pity. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to do this. I almost did this very thing two days ago. I was feeling sorry for myself that I was in Denver, away from family and close friends, alone, working, on Thanksgiving Day. Then, some of my Aussie footy friends invited me to join them at the park for a light kick around. Fresh air is like a drug for me, so I decided I could take a break for a hit. Once there, they asked what I was doing that night. I said, “Nothing. I have to work.” Carrie said, “No, you’re coming to our house for dinner.” J Although it didn’t make me miss my family and my best friends any less, I was incredibly thankful for her insistent invitation to join her and several other teammates for a ridiculously delicious Thanksgiving dinner in her lovely home.
– Even in times of hardship, be grateful – “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5. ‘Nuff said.
– Be vulnerable – My friend, Mike, shared some devastating news yesterday, yet was still able to parlay it into a lesson and although grieving a VERY real loss, express some gratitude for the experience. He quoted a section of Brene Brown’s research which teaches us about the strength of vulnerability. “The most crippling part of trauma is that so often, we fall into 1 of 2 categories: Either we try to pretend it never happened….or it defines us. We all have experienced trauma in our life and there is more of it to come, so the challenge is to find the middle ground; acknowledge the pain the trauma causes you, but don’t let it define you.” I would then add: be grateful that you came through it on the other side. Also, be supportive of others who struggle, too. I have found one of the quickest ways to truly fill my heart with authentic gratitude is to get my mind off myself and help others – whether that’s at military training, volunteering, or helping a loved one with a project you really don’t want to help them with.
In closing, like Marie Forleo says “Gratitude KILLS!”…it kills self-pity, jealousy, bitterness, and regret. So keep a gratitude journal, or a gratitude scrap paper, or scribbled on napkin by your bedside, or whatever, and remember that as you express your gratitude, you’re letting God and the Universe know “yes, please, I’d like more of this.” You send out an energy to the world and to others that you are at peace, content, and centered. So give it a shot, wont ya? Research shows that keeping even the simplest of gratitude journals has a reach far beyond the moments we take to make a grateful list. If you do it consistently it WILL transform your life.
*Remember you can REGISTER HERE for the JUST ROLL WITH IT BOOTCAMP taking place on Saturday December 1st in sunny San Diego! This is an integrative approach to health, happiness, and success and is definitely not just another motivational seminar. You’ll have first-hand access to leaders in their industries who are also people you can actually relate to and who “get it.” They are survivors and thrivers and are out making an incredible impact on the world, and want you to join them on the journey. It’s only $147 to enROLL now + that includes a total of 5 awesome expert speakers, lots of rad giveaways, and a healthy on-site lunch. There’s a totes mcgoats awesome VIP add-on option, too.
*Through a wonderful partnership with Team Red White & Blue, up to 25 veterans can have their registration sponsored by the non-profit group. There are a LIMITED NUMBER OF SEATS REMAINING, though, so contact me ASAP if you are military, veteran, or a spouse and would like to attend. Check out their Facebook Page. This is definitely an event you don’t want to miss 🙂 As Kate Hendricks, a wellness professional researching the effect of mindfulness practices on PTSD, says “Sarah’s energy, intellect, and dogged work ethic bring light to any room. She is an articulate speaker and motivating instructor.” So, I hope you can join me and the four other amazing guest expert speakers at the Just Roll With It Bootcamp in one week. We look forward to meeting you! 🙂
* In order to spread word about the Bootcamp, I’ve been on a number of radio shows. If you’d like a lil listen, check out The Grateful Dad Radio Hour, Natural News – Mental Health Exposed, and My Girls Anonymous as just a few examples, or visit the Semper Sarah media page for more.