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Guys, it has been a frickin’ year. It’s been a wild ride. Social and political unrest. A pandemic. Sickness. Illness. Job loss. Death. I could go on and on.
Let’s be clear about one thing before we continue: I am NOT lobbying here for toxic positivity. Nope. No way.
I’m suggesting something I think many of us have forgotten, especially this year. And I’m not blaming anyone for that.
But here is my plea- let us remember the good. Let us dig through the soil and the dirt of our lives and find the roots. The places where the good things grow out of. Let us hold tightly to the things where new life springs up from.
So here is the challenge below. Take these, and please, don’t be legalistic about it. My honest hope through this is more that it creates a habit and a pattern in your life of noticing these things rather than 30 days of forcing yourself to do everything perfectly and forget the rest of the year!
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. But, if you’re doing this challenge I am guessing that being thankful might be for you what I call a “upstream practice”. I definitely did not make up that term, that would be John Mark Comer.
But, his idea of implementing healthy practices into your life- upstream and downstream ones is so revolutionary to me. An upstream practice is one where it is super challenging for you because of the way you are and who you are. And a downstream practice is something that is healthy for you but easy for you to do because it flows more naturally with who you are.
With upstream practices you are challenging yourself, shaping yourself into the person that you want to be. These practices will help you get to where you want to be going. You should always have more downstream practices than upstream. And your upstream practices should shift and evolve as you grow as a person. Something that may start off as a upstream practice might become a downstream one with time, or you might conquer the reason you started it in the first place and move on.
So, you might be wondering “cool… but what does this have to do with the challenge? As I was saying, gratitude is going to be an important but upstream practice for most of us humans. Therefore, learning to pick out the good things in life, even when you don’t feel like it, is a really valuable skill set. Having perspective on life is vital.
With all of this information I challenge you to keep a gratitude journal, and for the next x______ amount of days you set, write in it every day. Set a time, maybe you chose mornings because mornings are hard and you hate getting up and negativity floors your head the moment you open your eyes. So, morning would be a great time for you to force yourself to be thankful. Maybe you’re thankful for good sleep, a comfortable bed, food in the fridge to eat for breakfast. I don’t know what your life circumstances are, it could be bigger or smaller than those examples.
The point is the noticing. The point is the consistency. So choose how long you want to do this for. For 30 days? For 2 weeks? Until Thanksgiving? Your call. Choose how many things you want to write down each day. 5? 10? Leave it open? Choose what time you want to do your journaling. Morning? Before bed? At the breakfast table? You chose what works for your life, and feel the literal health benefits of acknowledging the good in your life! Because everyone has good.
Want a super cute FREE printable for your gratitude journaling? Check it out below!
Love this journal, especially the pay it forward section!
Silence. Ah. So good for our brains, yet so seldom do we sit down with our thoughts and just be? This practice I am suggesting is to set aside a certain amount of time each day. Let’s say 10 minutes a day for posterity’s sake. Find a quiet, comfortable, yet alert position. Set your phone on silent mode. Set an alarm for 10 minutes. Put it on the other side of the room. Find a comfortable position, but not one where you are so comfortable you could easily fall asleep.
Have a mantra ready to say, one that reflects the gratefulness you are trying to cultivate. Something ideally 3-5 syllables. . Some examples would be: “my life is enough”, “I am blessed”, “my life is good”, etc When anxious thoughts- or any thoughts really- pop into your head, repeat the mantra.
Let the good fill your head. Give your time, attention, and focus to the positive. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s super hard for you to concentrate! It’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Be gentle on yourself.
This yoga mat is a great way to be comfortable yet alert while meditating.
Perspective is everything. Again, this isn’t toxic positivity. This is called hearing others stories and realizing that you are blessed in some ways others are not depending on who you are, who your family is, where you were born, etc.
This isn’t saying you can’t be sad about silly things, or “first-world problems”. It’s simply saying, look at your blessings.
There are literally tons and tons of books (or audiobooks if you aren’t a reader) that are people’s lived experiences that will fill you with so much gratitude for the blessings in your life (while simultaneously lighting a fire under your butt to fight for justice). Here is a list of some of my personal faves:
This is an incredible one, and probably my fave on the list!
Okay, so you’ve taken the time to connect with the good in your own life. You’ve meditated on these truths. You’ve read a book that helped give you perspective. Now it’s time to pay it forward.
Will you pay for someone behind you at Starbucks? Bring a meal to someone in need? Donate money to an organization you believe in? Take a step towards volunteering for that organization that’s calling to your heart? Commit to praying for someone?
Whatever it is, big or small. Pay it forward during this time. Pay it forward more than once, pay it forward in a big way, or in a way that will be years before you reach it’s conclusion. But do it. Be the good you want to see in humanity. I believe in you.
About Healthfully Whole
This is a lifestyle blog for women who want to grow and learn and become better versions of themselves. Authenticity is the most important part of this. None of us are perfect, and as Ijeoma Umebinyuo said, “I am too full of life to be half loved.” Thank you for reading.
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