Thanksgiving is a time when we are reminded to be grateful for the gifts we have in our life. While you strive to be grateful and really want to feel that, sometimes you may find it’s a struggle.
For many people it’s a time of year when they are under extra pressure and stress that make gratitude a challenge. You may find yourself spending time with people you don’t actually enjoy or want to spend time with. It maybe an in-law who comes to town, or that you are expected to go visit that makes you feel a surge of anxiety. Or, for you, It maybe the pressure of getting the house ready or the thought of cooking a huge dinner for a crowd. You may also be feeling the financial pressure of spending money on entertaining, travel, or giving gifts that you can’t afford.
How are you supposed to actually feel thankful?
1. First, this is a good time to just pause and breathe! When we are anxious we can actually ‘forget’ to breathe! Find a comfortable place to sit. Imagine your belly is a balloon - as you inhale, the balloon gets bigger. As you blow the air out through your mouth (as if you are breathing through a straw) your belly gets smaller again. Breathing nice and slow. Notice, how do you feel now? As long as you don’t feel dizzy, continue to breathe these slow, deep, belly breaths about 6-8 repetitions.
2. Now, take a mindful moment. What do you see? What do you hear? Use your tactile senses- touch your face and really observe what that feels like. What do you smell? Can you imagine being in the woods - what would that smell like? Take your time and truly experience this.
3. After you’ve slowed down to breathe and be mindful, look around for one thing you are grateful for. Maybe it’s a favorite color on a pillow, maybe it’s the sunshine streaming in the window, or the rain falling on the roof. From this start point, decide to look for 5 more things you are grateful for today.
Pausing for a moment of gratitude can have a domino effect. One moment of gratitude can lead to more.
It’s this act of calming ourselves, and truly being in the moment that we can experience both joy and gratitude. Take at least a few minutes each day to relax and find this sense of grounding. Even a few moments each day can help put a buffer between you and anxiety. These techniques can be used for stress management not only as a remedy, but also as a prevention.
Taking a few minutes to breathe and practice mindfulness can shift your mindset so it’s easier to truly embrace gratitude. If you find that you need more support in achieving a mindset shift call Kay and schedule your free consultation!