Reflections of Gratitude
By Natalie Moncrief
When you stop and think about it, your body is pretty amazing. So even if you don’t feel like you love your body all the time, the reality is that there is plenty to love…which is why it’s so important to take time to reflect and be grateful. With this being the season of gratitude and giving, let’s not forget to include ourselves. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. Making gratitude a part of your life comes with the responsibility of continuously being able to appreciate all that you have. Just like we practice any skill, the practice of gratitude takes work…so how can you follow up with such a responsibility?
Here are a few ways you can actively work to maintain an attitude of gratitude:
Take one picture a day of something for which you are grateful (set a reminder on your phone!). Set a goal to do this for 100 days and then reflect on the photographs…you’ll be amazed at the abundance in your life.
Picture of a faucet in your home to represent access to running water for drinking, bathing, etc.Picture of a book to represent your ability to read and learn.Picture of your family.
Make a list of what you appreciate about your body (nothing is too big or too small to include). Use the format “I appreciate my (body part) because it (accomplishes X/causes X pleasurable circumstance).”
I appreciate my face because it resembles half of my mom and half of my dad…and I like to be reminded of them when I see myself.
I appreciate the wrinkles around my eyes because they remind me that I’ve spent a lot of time smiling and laughing.
I appreciate my feet because they allow me the freedom to walk and/or run any distance I choose.
Establish a baseline measure of self-care that you can practice daily and/or monthly. We don’t usually dislike things that we take care of…and we don’t take care of things we dislike. Self-care demonstrates to yourself (and to others) that you appreciate your body and are willing to invest in its health and well-being.
drink enough water, get enough sleep, and eat nourishing food
use stress-reducing techniques such as exercise, yoga, or meditation
get a massage, manicure/pedicure or take a say off work to do what you love
Negativity bias makes it easy for us to focus on what we can’t do or what we don’t have. When you commit to grateful living, the transformative power of personal responsibility helps you to build a better perception of yourself. Challenge yourself to be curious about what’s going right. What is my body able to do? What’s going well in my life? Notice all that is already present and abundant…and in doing so, take nothing for granted.
Shifting your perspective and developing an attitude of genuine gratitude for your body is a powerful game-changer. However, finding gratitude for a normal, flawed, human body that isn’t “ideal” is a challenge and it takes practice. So, on days when your body seems more like a burden than a gift, remember that sometimes breathing is not only enough, but the only thing that actually matters. You are alive. May you feel your aliveness, and may it be enough.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy