Health Magazine

Weekly Challenge: Make Your Gratitude List

By Jenny Evans @PowerHousePC

Every year around this time I start reflecting on the past 365 days and conduct a mental summary of everything positive that’s happened.  This year I decided to take things a step further by actually sitting down and writing all the things I was grateful for.

I’ve posted on the importance of gratefulness to your resiliency and mood, and continue to collect recently released research on gratitude and it’s positive impact on your overall health.  It’s extremely important, and easy to do.

What made me decide to sit down and physically write the list was a yoga class last week taught by one of my favorite teachers, Nielle.  She was talking about how often we come to our yoga mats looking for a reprieve from all that’s wrong with our lives….how we come to try to “fix” things, how yoga is a shoulder to lean on during challenging times, how it’s a great way to deal with the stress of everyday life.  These things are one of the main reasons I go….to get a mental reset.

Last week’s class was different.  She informed us that day’s session was going to be a celebration of everything that was working for us in our lives.  Instead of focusing on the negative, the lack of, the struggle, the desire for, we were instructed to think of 5 things that were working for us.  Things we were grateful for.

As someone who is insanely goal oriented, I have a tendency to put blinders on and fixate on what’s next.  On what’s not working yet.  On where I’m trying to go.  I celebrate success for a few seconds, put it behind me, turn my head forward again, and refocus on the next “thing” with intensity.  I’ve noticed lately it’s made me feel frustrated when things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to.  I begin to obsess about all the things that aren’t working.

One of my commitments for this year is to acknowledge the things that are working more often.  Instead of celebrating success for seconds, I’m going to make an entire day or week of it.  Why not?  Bust out the bubbly!

Here’s what I wrote:

  1. My rheumatoid arthritis is in remission and I’m off my medications.  I love my health and am so grateful for a body that works.
  2. Our daughter Bella is LOVING her new middle school and is extremely engaged in her education.  She loves learning and I can’t begin to tell you how happy this makes me.
  3. I feel like I’ve got a better relationship with my parents than I ever have.  I’m fiercely independent which I’ve always interpreted as distance from my parents.  I’m learning that independence doesn’t have to mean distance.
  4. My partner and I have jobs and financial security.  There are a lot of people in the world right now who don’t have either.  To make things even better, my job is my passion and an expression of who I am.  I’ve pinched myself so many times this year while working that this is how I get to make a living.
  5. I have a loving and supportive partner who shares my values.  She never gives up and I would be stranded on a desert island with her any day.  (That’s my litmus test: would I end up killing you within 5 minutes if we were stranded?  Besides her, there’s only 1 other person I’ve ever met that I would vote to have on my island.)
  6. All the incredible people I’ve met this year through work and networking – many of whom have become friends.  I love meeting new people.
  7. All the good food I’ve eaten this year.  Delicious, healthy food that has nourished my body, family and relationships.

These are the big things on my list…..what’s on yours?  It’s your challenge for this week.

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