I've been thinking a lot about gratitude recently. Every week, my dear friend Anna and I host a live talk radio show at WIOX Community Radio, a gem of a radio station tucked into the rolling hills of the Catskills in Roxbury, NY. We choose a different topic each week and give ourselves almost a little mini-immersion into said topic as we investigate what it means in our own life, find additional resources to further our understanding of the topic, and somehow craft it all together into a coherent one-hour discussion that draws from our various perspectives. My perspective is often rooted in spirituality, self-care, coaching, and Eastern philosophy while Anna's usually has more of a clinical mental health and mindfulness bend to it. It makes for rich discussion and through it all, we learn a lot!
So with the topic of gratitude a few weeks ago, I got to thinking. What is the role of gratitude, both on an individual and collective level?
For one thing, it is an invitation to pause and reflect. And I'm all about pausing and reflecting.
In order to invite gratitude, we have to slow down.
When we pause and slow down and give time and space to gratitude, there's an invitation to see gifts. Without negating or pushing past any of the realities of challenges in our lives, there's something incredibly affirming and warm about taking stock of all the blessings that exist in our life. The basics: food, clothing, shelter. Love, belonging, joy - even just the small moments really matter.
What we focus on grows, and with gratitude, this is especially true.
In the episode, Anna and I talk about "existential gratitude," or the lens of expressing appreciation for and acknowledging “gifts” in all things - not just when things are good, but the gifts in challenges too. We look at the subtle difference between toxic positivity and gratitude, and as always, share some concrete tips on how to incorporate more practices into your life that support this energy of gratitude and gratefulness.
If you're ready to bring in more of that warmth, heart energy of gratitude into your life, here are a few of the tips that we share on the show:
- Over a meal, by yourself or with others, reflect on three things you're grateful for each day
- Daily before you go to sleep, spend 5 minutes making a list of what sparked joy for you that day
- Write a gratitude letter to someone, even if you don’t send it
- Open your arms wide to open the heart and practice receiving
Sharing with others, not just for yourself, is also a powerful practice. I'd love to hear from you! What are you grateful for? Send me an email and let me know!