Thoughtfulness, Gratefulness, and Grace
As I started my day, I heard a song that overwhelmed me with feelings of gratitude. After the hub of virtual school with kids, snacks, and Spring cleaning chores, I was so struck by emotion, I had to stop and take a mindfulness break. My break was such a beautiful moment of real reflection that brought me to a place of truth and transparency.
I realized I had slipped into auto-pilot with everything in my life. This moment opened my eyes to my imperfect beautiful life in a new way. We all have struggles. We all have hardships and less confident moments. But, when we see we don’t have to be perfect to be absolutely loved and absolutely blessed, you can’t help but be grateful.
So, how does this apply to you? What can you take away from my moment waking up from the matrix? Well, as The Duchess of Sussex put it, “It isn’t enough just to survive, but to thrive.” Many of us have gotten into ruts, even during Covid, and mental fog, where we aren’t quite mindful. We need to switch things up periodically to keep our mind, bodies, and spirits fresh.
Statistics, from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), show that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. impacting over 40 million from age 18 and older. With that said, many people get anxious or become depressed before they even realize it. Which, makes it that much more critical for us to stay mindful and present.
If you’ve read my lifestyle pieces or watched my videos one YouTube or IG, you’ll know that mindfulness, gratitude, and meditation are near and dear to my heart. The practices have helped me personally through some of the darkest times of life and through my wartime experiences. I know, all to well, how helpful these practices can be. So, today, with my own moment coming back to mindfulness, I want to share the tips that have helped me.
1. I wake and go to bed making at least 5 minutes to be present. I like prayer or a silent meditation. I think of prayer as us talking to God, while meditation, is more of a still quieting of the mind in “receive mode” from within, listening and feeling as answers come.
2. I always count my blessings. I like to start my day with thoughts about what I’m grateful for. I find it is hard to be angry, sad, or have negative emotions with gratitude. Gratitude seems to push negative feelings right out, like the two things can’t co-exist. When we start our day in thoughtfulness, we can expand into thankfulness, love, and Grace with everything we do. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it.
3. Use breaks at top of the hour or whenever you can get them (even a bathroom break) to be present and hydrate. I am at my best and feel good when I take a break to relax and hydrate. I have a hard time staying hydrated, so the breaks keep me on track and I usually use it to go outside for a few minutes. I try to just listen to the birds chirping, the wind, and my breath. The more quiet and peaceful, the better.
4. Take naps. I fit in cat naps whenever and wherever I can. Some days, I just feel spent! So, I can fall asleep almost anywhere. It doesn’t take long to feel refreshed. Now, if I crash somewhere randomly, I know I can also be dehydrated, so I make sure to drink plenty fluids, when I wake up. I also go to bed at a decent time every night. If you can get to sleep by 10 pm, and get 7-8 hours a day, you’ll feel great too. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time daily.
5. Have a life and stay connected. I love solitude and can be happy as a clam alone or with people. But, we are social creatures and need interaction to thrive. FaceTime with family and friends or have a Zoom session with others. Watch parties and outdoor events socially distanced are great to stay connected.
Also, check on that friend or co-worker that is more introverted. Some people are struggling with loneliness, but have no one close to check on them. Everyone wants to feel cared about and loved, so just be thoughtful of others and just connect. You never know, you could actually be saving a life. If you are alone and not sure how to get out of your comfort zone, try something small to be social and distant. Grab a coffee and a book or paper and sit on a bench. Eat out for one at an outdoor cafe. Maybe a bike ride through the neighborhood. Going for walks are so helpful for fresh air and overall fitness.
6. Self care! Don’t skimp on your self care. This is so critical. Take a mental health break and some days to just chill. Light workouts are self care. Get some moderate exercise at least 3 days a week. We already mentioned hydration, but you also need to enjoy yourself too. Have tea, natural cold pressed juices, and maybe things that make you feel pampered. Drink tasty waters that make you feel healthy as well as treated. Lemon water or infused with berries. Homemade sun tea with honey or agave and lemon is a nice touch on a warm day.
Don’t forget your weekly facials, skin moisture, massages, and stretching. Listening to easy listening music, taking time to read a book, or writing in a journal are all types of self care.
7. Think well of yourself for yourself. I can’t tell you how many folks tell me they want to be successful or try so hard to work harder or try harder doing more thinking of they can just do “X”, then they will be successful, loved, liked, better, or more successful. Unfortunately, that mentality in and of itself is self defeating.
Many don’t realize they already have everything within them. They are already successful, but their idea of success is off. I’m centered by my faith, so success in my mind, is having a relationship with God. That’s it. It isn’t having materialistic things, a certain job, or money. It is all about love. I feel love, I feel the presence of my faith in my life and that is enough, because it feels like an amazing gift I don’t have to work for, just accept. My gratefulness for the gift, lends to my outward actions to love and be love. It moves me toward action, just because I feel energized by goodness and positive thinking energy.
Thinking positive about ourselves is so important to our confidence and life. We exude what we think and feel. It shows and manifests in everything we do. You will look to others the way you see yourself. So, it is important to be honest and transparent. The masks people typically have to hide behind rarely hides anything. The truth is usually still obvious. Positive self talk and addressing truths to forgive yourself for any shame, mistakes, or past negativity are crucial to think well of yourself in a healthy way. Cockiness is false confidence and is obvious too. So, don’t try to pass that off, just be real. The truth always comes out eventually. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself, so you can forgive others with love and acceptance.
So happy and joyful today to share my thoughts on mindfulness, gratitude, meditation, and thriving in life. I hope you all gained some helpful insight that will impact your life in a positive way. Feel free to comment in the blog below and share your thoughts on the subject.