Gratitude, a.k.a. Vitamin G, is something few doctors, nutritionists or other health care practitioners will tell you much about, but it's a powerful essential nutrient for health. I make it a practice to get my daily dose of Vitamin G. Josh and I always take a moment before we eat to express gratitude for our food. We regularly express gratitude for our health, our families, and each other. We are grateful to have access to clean water, food, and the work we get to do. We are grateful to live in the peace that our country enjoys.
There is one area of gratitude that has been trumping all others of late, giving me the most powerful dose of my Vitamin G -- and that is you. I am grateful to this most amazing community.
I have been doing a lot of work lately in support of my CNE Program, and no matter who I speak with, and the same theme keeps coming up again and again. That is the fundamental necessity of having a community that truly supports you, and vice versa.
It blows my mind when I think about what this community has allowed me to do, has pushed me to do and has invited me to be part of. And because I am grateful for that every single day, I continue to work hard for you and with you. I continue to listen to what you are asking for and deliver and I continue to ask you to play along however it feels right for you.
How Does Vitamin G Work?
There's something I learned recently about gratitude that, for whatever reason, had never made sense to me before. See, in my yoga and meditation classes, my teachers would always talk about the importance of exercising that gratitude muscle. And I always thought that the gratitude muscle worked like the law of attraction. You know- like the more you experienced feelings of gratitude the more you were given to be grateful for. Not true- not really.
Vitamin G works by inviting us to focus on the greatness in our lives -- the silver linings, if you will. And the more you focus on your blessings, the less likely you are to start listing off the bad stuff. We all have the bad stuff, the challenges, but if we can find the bright side, it's all so much easier to take.
Gratitude can be broken down into three components- and they are:
- Love: Being open to giving and receiving love boosts feelings of belonging, community, and kindness. This can be between partners, friends and family, but also for spaces, nature, art, books, music, and your work. Finding and cultivating love in any situation strengthens that gratitude muscle and shifts you into a positive mind state, which in turn boosts mood, immune health and shifts you into the parasympathetic nervous system where we are able to rest, digest and heal.
- Hope: No matter how challenging or bleak things may seem presently, maintain the hope that it will change and you will be more inclined to take actions to put those changes into fruition. You know that saying, "This too shall pass"? It's true. It always does -- the good and the bad.
- Faith: There's no one religion you need to join, or one belief system that will give you more faith than any other. The key here is having confidence that there are powers and energies out there greater than your own. And there are. We are each specks in this grand universe that is ever evolving, and whether you call that force God, or Allah, or the universe, or spirit, or mother nature -- there is something out there and when we operate with love and hope, practicing gratitude, you can also feel supported knowing there is something greater than us that is conspiring in our favour.
How To Cultivate Gratitude
I have seen many people taking on gratitude challenges on Facebook -- posting five things everyday that they are grateful for. That could work, but more importantly than telling the world what you a grateful for, take some time to truly feel it. You need to feel it through your whole being to reap the benefits. Gratitude is a practice, and so the best way to cultivate it is to practice.
- Practice in the morning: Take some time when you wake up, while brushing your teeth, in the shower, before you eat, sitting in quiet meditation, driving in your car, sitting on the bus or whenever you can take five or ten minutes to give some goodness to yourself and into the world by contemplating the blessings in your life. You might even choose to create a ritual around this, something will ground you in a little and help you be present with these positive thoughts and feelings.
- Accept the bad days for what they really are: Wouldn't it be great if every day was perfect and awesome? But that's just not life. Here's what I know for sure and I hope you do too -- every challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, evolve, and discover. Sometimes stress can be a good thing. It's what helps things to change. If we look at the challenging moments as opportunities to observe and find new ways to respond, we might be able to go so far as to find the blessings in what might otherwise be a negative experience.
- Be of service: Most of the time, we don't have any clue what we're capable of giving. Being of service might mean volunteering somewhere or making donations, but it doesn't have to be that formal or official. Most of us can easily be of service to others simply by doing what we're naturally best at -- being kind. Smiling, saying hello, holding a door, carrying a parcel -- these are simple everyday ways we can be of service. Want to go further? You know that thing you love to do and are really awesome at? Do it more! Share it, perform it, teach it, photograph it, sing it, play it, write it. Share your area of brilliance and without a doubt you will be embodying service, love, faith, hope, and as such, the gratitude will overflow.
And Because I Am Most Grateful to This Community...Do This With Me
There is so much we take for granted that we fail to see the miracles that are happening in every moment all around us. When we take the time to notice the magic of the world we live in, what we start to notice is more and more magic. It becomes impossible not to experience gratitude.
Do this for the community, please!
I am not going to ask you for a long list, it's quality that counts. But I do want to ask you to set an intention for the week to offer gratitude to at least one area of your life that matters to you.
You can tweet it, or take a picture and share it on FB or Instagram, or post a comment below. And I would be super grateful if you would share it with me, either by tagging me @MeghanTelpner or using #UnDietGratitude, because I want to share in what you are celebrating and put all of your gratitude moments together in a special little follow-up post.
Can you do that for this community?