In this week’s E-Therapy Voices Series, empowerment coach, Cathy Hartenstein offers an exercise in practicing gratitude for personal wellness.
A Little Gratitude Goes A Long Way
by Cathy Hartenstein
There are many days when our frustration, stress, and mounting responsibilities get the best of us. Our focus is on all the things that are challenging or frightening about this transition, and we forget to remember the beauty and good in our lives. When we reach our boiling point, one of the best sure-fire ways to shift our focus and energy quickly is by practicing gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful tool to bring our attention onto all the wonderful things in our daily lives, the things we take for granted, and the things that sustain us through our most difficult times. I know some days we struggle to find the good, but here are a few tools to help you focus on what you have to be thankful for in your life.
Practice a mini gratitude meditation
Find a place in your home that brings you joy or peace of mind. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Begin by bringing your focus to what you have in your life that you are thankful for such as a nice home, good food, a beautiful place, etc.
Next, focus on who in your life you are grateful for such as family, friends, students, etc.
After a beat, bring your attention to yourself. What do you appreciate most about yourself? What are the attributes you like most about yourself or appreciate most?
Finally, what are you grateful for in the world around you? What in your environment has made you thankful? The sky, the birds, the breeze, the rain?
When you are done be sure to thank yourself for taking the time to practice gratitude. You deserve some gratitude, and don’t we all?
3 things you are grateful for
This can be practiced many ways. Here is how I optimize practicing gratitude for the best results.
When you imagine 3 things you are grateful for, you can choose to sprinkle them throughout the day instead of doing them at the beginning or end of the day. This helps to spread out the effects of gratitude and creates a more consistent and significant daily positive energy shift.
First, get a sticky note pad or small pad of paper. When you first sit down to begin your work day at home, take one sticky note and write down what you are most grateful about your job. Post it around your work area where you can spot it easily throughout the day.
At noon (or whenever you take your lunch break), take a sticky note and write down what you are most grateful about what you receive (food, kindness, student enthusiasm). Place it where you will be reminded of what you receive.
At the end of your day, take a sticky note and write down what you are grateful about your day. Place it somewhere near where you sleep.
By doing this daily practice you should begin to feel a sense of thankfulness even as you encounter the stresses life brings. By placing these gratitude notes around you, you will be gently reminded of the many things you have to be thankful for.
Take a gratitude break
This is a simple, but effective way to practice gratitude. When you are feeling particularly stressed, make sure to take a moment for a GRATITUDE BREAK. This could be just simply walking away from your computer, finding a quiet place, and taking a moment to focus on what you are truly grateful for right now.
You could also have a little longer break and take a walk. On your walk, be sure to take in what is around you, being thankful for all the beauty you experience and the gifts that you receive. When you return from your break, be sure to spread the gratitude and tell whoever you see next something you appreciate about them. This small way of “paying it forward” goes a long way, and you will see the results quickly.
Let us know your experience with these exercises or what you do to stay grounded and centered during COVID-19 in the comments below.
Still feeling stressed? Learn how to bump up your zen with breathing techniques.
About the Author
Cathy Hartenstein is a Life Coach, EFT/Matrix Re- imprinting, and NLP Practitioner who is dedicated to helping people create more bliss in their lives and realize their highest potential. By constantly investigating what drives us, why we do the things we do, and searching for the beauty that she sees in humanity, she empowers people to release old trauma and live their best life. She has a strong background leading groups to realize their creative vision, having been actively involved in arts and education for over 3 decades as an international theatre artist, theatre professor at many prestigious universities, and workshop facilitator. In her work she strives to help her clients reconnect to themselves and overcome their personal obstacles to realize their greatest potential. Find Cathy at Create More Bliss.