Practice makes perfect, and this year we’ve got a lot of work to do. In between exercising our meditation and mindfulness muscles, you can find us practicing gratitude as well.
In a yoga class the other day, I was in a particularly ab-busting pose. My instructor, Marge, reminded us to maintain our breathing and our “child’s pose” face. I quickly adjusted my facial muscles to reflect a calmness and serenity that I absolutely did not feel— but to my surprise, I could sense a change in my mental headspace. Later that week, in a technology-related issue at the office I forced myself to smile, even if just for a moment, in between “error” messages across my screen. Again— I felt myself relax, and the weight of the issue seemed to lift from my shoulders.
Shifting my demeanor completely transformed my mental headspace. Leaning into the feeling of joy that came with simply taking a step back and smiling, despite the chaos, dramatically improved my mood. Pain is unavoidable— however, creating a reservoir of joy that we can turn to in times of struggle is one way to remain strong through the hard times.
This realization inspired me to practice gratitude and shift my perspective. Whenever I’m having a tough time, my first instinct is to think in a whirlwind of negativity. No one likes me. I’m not good at anything. Blah, blah, blah. Now, even when it’s difficult at times, I try to take a deep breath, smile, and think of three positive things to counteract my first instincts— My job is wonderful. The people I work with are incredible. I am grateful for a place that challenges me so I can better myself every day. It’s not always that simple— but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary.
Today, I challenge you to say out loud what you’re grateful for. Even if it’s one or two things— feel your headspace change, keep that joy somewhere deep within you so you can look inwards during the meh-moments. The people in the world with the most joy are the people who are grateful for and inspired by their present.