We are a week away from Thanksgiving, so it seems like a great time to talk about gratitude. Gratitude is a game-changer in the world of holistic health and wellness. Research shows that grateful people tend to be healthy and happy; exhibiting lower levels of stress and depression, coping better with life challenges, and sleeping better. Grateful individuals also report high life satisfaction and relationship contentment.
Here’s the thing about gratitude, it doesn’t have to be a painful exercise. It can be very simple. The hard part is just remembering to note all of the amazing things in your life. Once you form a habit of intentionally practicing daily gratitude, you may be amazed at what a difference it makes in your life.
In the Giosi house we have a daily gratitude ritual we call “breathing in.” Each night after our boys (Arlen is three and Mackie is one) take their bath or “tubby”, just before bed we read a book as a family and then take a moment to “breathe in” the blessings of our day. We can breathe in huge items like getting a promotion at work, reaching a big goal, or getting fantastic news. Or it can be seemingly little things like the sunny day, “playing with Pappy”, heat in our home, “snacks”, a favorite toy, a cozy bed, etc. We just take a moment as a family to think through the things in our day that we were blessed to have or experience. Because we do this every night, it’s a part of our ritual. At this point, it would feel weird to go to bed without doing it. It has also become a habit that can carry over into other moments in our day. Before eating, for example, we take a moment to breathe in our food and show gratitude for the meal. Likewise, sometimes during a car ride we’ll take a moment to breathe in the beautiful day. The small moments have lasting impact on making the whole day seem rosier. In general, it has been an incredibly healthy coping mechanism for challenging moments.
This is certainly something we can do independent of one another, but we have found that we really enjoy hearing what others in the family want to breathe in. Even as tiny as they are, it helps Jeff and I get to know the boys better and understand what it is they value. (Right now they value snacks, big time!) I hope this will be something they carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. I believe in this so much I have included some of these breathe in and general gratitude exercises in my “Stop Dieting & Feel Great Doing It” course and my Mindful Eating Journal.
Give it a try. Don’t overthink it. If you’re concerned it will be too difficult to come up with things to breathe in, just start. Anything and everything is worth being grateful for. You are surrounded by amazing blessings and abundance. Just take a quick moment to acknowledge it. Usually, once you start, you realize you have so much you could list that you have to cut yourself off. Enjoy it.
More Resources To Support You In A Healthy And Happy Holiday Season: