what you focus on you create more of
If you find yourself with some down time over your Thanksgiving break, I highly recommend That Sugar Film. In it, film-maker/actor Damon Gameau ate 40 teaspoons (Australian average intake) of processed sugar for 60 days and documented the effects. It is eye-opening, to say the least. What makes it even more mind-blowing is that he consumed the sugar by eating foods that most people deem "healthy." He ate things like cereal, yogurt, and snack bars. If you are struggling to give up the sweet stuff, this may help you move forward.
You hear about gratitude a lot this time of year. The holidays are a traditional time to take stock of our lives, what we have accomplished this year, and the things for which we are thankful.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that we should be making a concentrated effort to make gratitude a daily habit throughout the year. The simple act of noticing small things during each day and then perhaps noting them at the end of the day- in your mind or on paper, helps us to feel more joyful. We train the brain to look for the positive, which then makes us feel more positive.
The things you notice don't have to be big things. In fact, it's just the opposite. If you can be joyful about the minutia in life, then the big wins are simply icing on the cake.
For example, I squeezed a mammogram into my schedule yesterday. (Pun intended.😂) I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I walked into that office with a spring in my step and made a conscious effort to notice the little things. I made conversation with the young woman that checked me in-- I noted how nice it was to learn a little about her, and how sweet it was of her to engage in conversation the way she did. I was given the opportunity to choose whether I wanted the 3D imagery, which insurance covered. I was reminded at that moment of how fortunate I am to have insurance at all. The technician that did the mammography was informative and kind. I was thankful that it didn't take long at all to get it done, and that I was back in my car in about 30 minutes, start to finish. Because I was ahead of schedule, I was able to stop at the Starbucks downtown and grab a coffee before I taught class. (I even had a couple of bucks in my wallet, which hardly ever happens.) I knew the barista, and the chat I had with him made me smile. The short time I was able to sit in that comfy chair and enjoy my coffee was perfect.
Those were just a few of the things I wrote in my journal this morning. Honestly, there are days when I have to dig deep to find the little things to write down, but that's a good thing. It keeps the search alive and in the forefront of my brain.
There are actual physical and mental benefits of practicing gratitude, including better sleep, enhanced mood and impulse control, improved relationships, lessened anxiety, and better cardiac health.
I challenge you to play around with a gratitude practice in the next week--jot down 5-10 things for which you are grateful at the end or beginning of each day. Notice how it changes your mood, mindset, energy, and stress level.
About the Author
Kim is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and group fitness instructor. She is a mom of two grown kiddos, and a former elementary school teacher. Most days, she can be found training clients, prepping food, thinking about food, or writing about food. She is also obsessed with mindset and habits. She is a 9w1 on the enneagram.