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Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 3- Gratitude

Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 3- Gratitude

Today, let us swim wildly, joyously in gratitude. – Rumi

Day 3 is upon us. Have you felt yourself shift? Whether you have or you haven’t, gratitude is always a game changer. If you already have a gratitude practice, that is awesome, and lets see if we can add to it.

Why do we need to embrace and practice gratitude? Gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier, yup..SCIENE.  Through gratitude you can actually wire your brain for happiness. When we build gratitude into our brain we set our default state of being to be happier and more resilient to stress. Building stress resilience alone is a tremendous benefit because when you are resilient the negative effects of stress aren’t as severe. Are you thinking that it’s too late for you? Guess what, it isn’t. Neuroscience has found in the recent decade that Neuroplasticity exists. This means through practice and regular habit you can rewire connections, or even create new connections in the brain!

Lets add some gratitude to our Self-Care! First- Add gratitude to your evening routine. This can be sharing the three things you are grateful for with your spouse, family, kids or friends…..or grab a gratitude buddy and text or voice message them. Each evening reflect on the three things you were grateful for that day, big or small, no matter how simple. Second – Feel your gratitude. While you are expressing your three things take a moment for each thing and feel the emotion of gratitude, let yourself connect with that feeling for each thing. Associating the gratitude and the feeling in your body is a powerful combo. Third – Wake up grateful. Practice gratitude in the morning for one thing that is going to happen in the day that will be awesome. This takes a little faith because you have to believe that the awesome is going to happen and then be grateful for something that hasn’t happened yet. This is also a really powerful combination of setting your mindset for a good day. So take the leap and be grateful for the presentation you are going to rock, the dinner you are going to make, the workout you are going to crush or the parking spot you are going to snag. It can be anything.

Bonus – Challenge Yourself – If things are not going as you want them to in life, if there is a negative experience that has been holding you back, or that you are going through right now, try to be grateful for the negative experience even if you can’t see why it has happened or how it can possibly serve you. This is something I work on in my meditations and something I find difficult but life changing.  Being grateful for a negative experience or circumstance, before you can see the lesson, or the strength that has given you, puts you in a more resilient place to overcome this and future adversity.

When my oldest son was born 2 months premature it was a difficult and scary time. I was sick, he was in the NICU, we hadn’t finished the nursery yet. I was devastated, heartbroken and scared. There was no way to know what the future held. I tried to focus on being grateful that everyone was healthy, everyone was alive and we would go from there. What I realized later was that because my son had a true knot in his umbilical cord, and the way it was situated, if he had been full term he likely wouldn’t have survived. There was no way for us to know there was a knot and no way to prevent it. The early delivery saved us both, and that is a negative experience I am deeply grateful for.

Adding Gratitude before bed will also become a part of your winding down routine before bed, which is perfect because tomorrow we are talking about one of my favorite subjects – SLEEP!! See you tomorrow.

Love Yourself, Hacking Self-Care Day 2 – Free Yourself

Love Yourself, Hacking Self-Care Day 2 – Free Yourself

Happy Valentines Day!

I am so excited that you started a new self-care habit yesterday! That is awesome. We are going to build on our foundation today. One of the things that holds us back or sets us back in loving ourselves unconditionally is comparison. Comparison is the C word. When we use what others show us as a yard stick for our own lives, success or happiness it is going to be damaging. Comparison is sneaky though. Sometimes it’s blatant and you can catch yourself. Other times it’s sneaky and you don’t realize this is what happened until (or if) you evaluate your reaction and feelings at a later point.

It is easy to spot when you are looking at all the gifts someone on Instagram was purchased for Valentines day and you grumble about it (just me?). In that case you can say, I am comparing, I am happy for them and what is happening in their life doesn’t affect my life. It’s harder when the comparison isn’t so clear, you just kinda feel bad based on something you observed, and then have to take a minute and ask yourself why your mood changed. 

Comparison crops up in a lot of ways. Has this ever happened to you….. you are completely content with your day, your outfit, yourself…and then you are online and see something someone else is doing and suddenly you feel sad, or that you should be doing something differently, or that you need to lose 10-20-50lbs or shouldn’t be wearing those shoes? Right. Me too, and I hate it. But here is the good news. Comparison is all about you. No matter what other people choose to project outward towards us, we are in full control of how we react. So yes, comparison is something you can eliminate from your mindset. Isn’t that great news.

How do we eliminate comparison? First, recognize when it’s happening. When you catch yourself it gives you an opportunity to explore what it was that made you compare, and why you felt a certain way. Then you can let that feeling go. Second, remember that you don’t know what is going on in anyone else life and that thought they may have a giant pile of presents, they might have been though some really tough things that makes this holiday significant, or the bags may be staged, or they may be in mounds of credit card debt and feel trapped. Third, focus back on you, make a mental note of your accomplishments, joys and values and be happy in that.  

Bonus action – Its time to let go. If there is someone in your life, either IRL or online, that only shows you the highlight reel….let them go. Today we choosing to not let those influences in. On Facebook you can just unfollow someone so their seemingly Pinterest perfect life doesn’t invade your news feed. On Instagram they won’t know if you unfollow them either. Pick a few that don’t bring anything to the table for you and let it go. Because Instagram is my favorite social media (@EmilyDBakerEsq) you can search a # of something you love like… #GoldenRetriever and find some accounts that share adorable puppies….follow them like @goldens_ofInstagram. 

I also want to note that loving yourself where you are is key to this. It’s ok if there are things you want to work on, or change. It’s ok if you are working towards the best version of you and your better life. But there isn’t room for those amazing things if you don’t first love where you are. We are talking all about gratitude tomorrow and how to love where you are at right this moment! 

Let me know how this exercise pops up in your day and how it makes a difference. Have a wonderful Valentines, love yourself and I will see you tomorrow.