October - Gratitude!
Canadian Thanksgiving has just past, and it got me thinking about gratitude.
I certainly have a lot to be grateful for in my life, and it was terrific celebrating by bringing the whole family together for a feast. However, one conversation kept coming up, over and over again throughout the day; we don't see each other enough!
Holidays, arbitrary or specific, bring up an interesting conundrum: how can we be grateful for these same people and the life that we have day to day?
It is so easy to be dragged down and focused on all that is going sideways in our lives. We are often focused on "doing" and getting to our goals that we can overlook or forget to leave time for friends, family and the simple pleasures of life. We often forget the value of each moment we have, forget to be present in each moment, and we forget that we have the choice of gratitude.
I know what you're thinking! Last month we did a Goal Setting Challenge and focused on "doing" and "getting" and staying focused!
Some recent studies suggest that deliberately cultivating gratitude - being grateful in our thinking and especially expressing it to others, is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy! So, what we're saying here might be that being grateful will not only help your wellbeing and happiness, better appreciate your life and the people in it, it may also bring you closer to your goals...
We all have gratitude within us. It's a feeling, but I would argue it is also an attitude. Gratitude takes some attention and practice. Learning how to tap into it begins by looking within and appreciating the value of one's experiences.
Here are 10 Tips on how to start recognizing and practicing Gratitude:
Take a moment first thing in the morning to consider the possibilities a new day brings.
Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge that you are a living human worthy of love and happiness.
Start a journal and write one thing that you are grateful for each day of the year - some people do this on social media! We'll be doing this in our private facebook group.
Smile at everyone you come across in a day.
Make eye contact when someone speaks to you (put down your smartphone!)
Take time to say "thank you" and notice how your kindness affects you and others.
Practice being mindful about what you're doing rather than acting out of habit - really enjoy the flavours of your lunch, the colours of the changing leaves, the delicious aroma of a meal being prepared.
Identify one thing that you have learned when faced with a challenge - there's always a hidden opportunity!
Express your gratitude to (at least) one person during the day.
Last thing at night, reflect on one experience that made you smile that day.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our moments of gratitude in our Retrofit Pilates Teacher Training Facebook Group.
Ruth Ruttan is the Education Coordinator for Retrofit Pilates in Toronto, Canada, a Master Instructor specializing in Pre & Postnatal Pilates and a Birth & Postpartum Doula. Each week Ruth shares tips, tools and reminders for Pilates instructors and students with the intention of keeping us inspired, asking questions and always seeking to improve our teaching and our Pilates practice.