As my heart was pounding out of my chest, it started to get hard to breathe. Everything around me had a grey filter as I sunk down into my couch staring blankly into space, I didn’t think I would survive.  Friends & family asked to spend time together but how could I when I felt like this? All around me – family and friends were happy & enjoying the holidays, so why wasn’t I? 

Two years ago during the holiday season – this was my reality. I was at the end of the most challenging year of my advertising career that put me in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I had finished my yoga teacher training not a month ago without any job prospects. I thought I’d never be a yoga teacher.  I felt really sorry for myself spending my time alone scrolling social media looking at everyone else enjoying the holidays. 

The funny thing is nothing was that wrong! I had my health, family, friends and a boyfriend who loved me, a stable job, and endless possibilities in front of me.  I had the entire week off after Christmas because my office was closed giving me extra vacation. All I could see was what was wrong and had blinders on to what was going right.

Back then – I did not know the power of a gratitude practice.  I was focused on the negative and did not know how to appreciate the good.  It left me with a glass half empty mentality until a daily gratitude practice changed my life!

Why Does a Gratitude Practice Work 

Gratitude is our emotion that relates to our ability to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation.  Expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being. Being grateful also impacts the overall experience of happiness, and these effects tend to be long-lasting. It works because it trains the brain to see the good in every single day vs. the highlight reel of our life.  Not every day is a vacation or big wins at work – but something good happens in every single day if we only pay attention.

How to Start a Gratitude Practice

  • Start a Gratitude Journal
    • Write 3 things you’re grateful for every morning and 3 things that happened you’re grateful for at the end of the day – it helps you see the good in everyday!
  • Practice Not Complaining, Gossiping, or Judging
    • Start to notice how often in your day you complain or talk about other or judge. Simply bringing awareness to it at first can help you begin to change the behavior. 

As the year draws to a close & you reflect on 2018 and look forward to 2019, appreciate the daily positives.  Notice your favorite barista having your coffee waiting for you when you get to Starbucks or making it to your favorite yoga class.  Find gratitude in the everyday and realize that life is a blessing that we can’t take for grated by living for the highlight reel.