Begin Connecting to yourSelf in 3 Simple Steps (Part 2)

Categories: Uncategorized.

Hi there!

We’ve been talking about how to reconnect with yourSelf (Capital S)–to renew the most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life! Let’s look at the steps again, why don’t we?

There are 3 Simple Steps to begin Connecting to yourSelf:

Step 1: Set aside quiet time to connect with yourSelf each day. This is a skill that takes practice… like learning piano, or violin, or another language. Daily practice is essential!

Step 2: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Not only does a gratitude practice make life more beautiful, it’s a very real tool to continue uncovering the many ways your Inner Voice communicates with you.

Step 3: Be gentle with yourself! Connecting to yourSelf is a skill that takes time and dedication. Just keep trying!

 

Last week, we did a deep dive into Step 1: Set aside quiet time to connect with yourSelf each day. If you missed that, please stop reading this now!  Start there… and then jump back in with us here at 

Step 2: Gratitude!

A gratitude practice–any kind that works for you–is vital.

The very first thing I talk to my new clients about is starting a gratitude journal. In it, I have them write down 5 things they are grateful for each day. Any time of day. Any format (bullet list, doodling, freeform journaling; handwritten or on your phone or computer). There are no rules, except do it daily and write down at least 5 things that you honestly feel gratitude for.

 

Some days are easy–on particularly amazing days, we can write down beautiful, very specific moments from the day, and we are almost giddy as we recall them.

 

Other days are more challenging–you know, those shitty days that one terrible thing happens, and is then followed by four or five things that are even worse?

Those days, it’s even more important to sit down with a gratitude journal! No matter what the day has dumped on you, my hunch is that you still have at least five things you are grateful for. I challenge you to look hard for things that went right in your day–were there any tiny bright spots? If you just can’t find any, it’s okay to go to those everyday blessings that are often overlooked when things are magically exceptional. The feel of your clothes against your skin, the smell of rain or dinner cooking, your family/neighbors/friend/pet, a place to sleep, clean water, etc etc. We have so much that we take for granted, right? I admit, every once in awhile my #5 is “today is over.” I have no guilt about that! For me, along with all my other gratitudes, it brings me back to the place where I remember that tomorrow will be a new day. Each morning is a fresh new opportunity. Another 24 hours to collect Gratitude.

 

Science is proving, over and over, that feeling gratitude gives us more than just warm fuzzies. (Do you love seeing scientific proof to go along with feeling good? Check out a few of the MANY articles I found from: Psychology Today, Martha Beck, The University of Pennsylvania, Mindful…and for more just google “Gratitude Benefits” and see what an abundance of reading is available to you!)

We also know that if you are in the present moment and focusing on gratitude, there is no room for anger, or resentment, or irritation. You simply can’t focus on both at the same time. (Beautifully explained by one of my favorite people on the planet, Martha Beck, in this video: ”Why is Gratitude Important to My Mental Health?”)

 

Let me be clear–it is SO important that we feel our feelings. Feelings are messengers that bring us healing and guidance. It is unhealthy to ignore them. Stuffing uncomfortable feelings can result in a variety of emotional and physical ailments. (I’m speaking from experience here!)

A gratitude practice is not to avoid our feelings or pretend like they don’t exist. Along with honoring our feelings, it is good for our health to make time for big doses of intentional gratitude.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t need science to confirm what I’ve already experienced to be true for me… but it is pretty amazing to read about what happens in our brain when we feel gratitude. Specific neural pathways light up, and there is a rise in dopamine and serotonin levels similar to the effect of an antidepressant. Seriously! Looking back, I can see that my experiences with depression came with a very real disconnection from my Inner Wisdom. What a powerful realization–to know that there is a way to reconnect to ourSelves, even in those moments when we’re at our lowest. I now see even more reason to practice gratitude daily.

 

How do you begin a gratitude practice of your very own?

Does the thought of going out and buying yourself a brand new journal for your gratitudes bring you joy? Maybe you have a favorite kind of pen you like to use, but not in your favorite color yet? Make this fun! Having tools that bring a smile to your face will help you solidify your new gratitude practice. No, really! And you don’t have to spend a lot of money for that smile–many discount stores carry beautiful journals. Dollar stores have calendars that might be fun to use! Find something that makes you feel gratitude when you pick it up, and then use it!

You crafty types could make your own journal–collage the cover of a steno pad you have at home already, or hook 3×5 cards together with a binder ring?

One year I used a large glass vase and wrote each day’s gratitudes on a scrap of paper. As the days passed, I watched the vase fill with colors and love on my mantle. Like Martha mentions in the video link above, you could simply state 20 things you are grateful for every time you are stopped at a red light– make your gratitude practice your own!

 

Once you lock in the habit of writing your gratitudes down daily, and you’re ready to uplevel? Allow yourself time to sit and FEEL the gratitude as you write it down. Sink into that still, peaceful place inside you and feel the gratitude there. Let it fill you and expand beyond your physical body into the space around you. This is a powerful way to connect to yourSelf. In gratitude, you solidify that connection and get practice checking in with your Inner Wisdom at times other than your daily quiet time.

 

My invitation to you:

  • Create a daily gratitude practice of your very own. Give yourself plenty of time with your daily practice to allow a habit to form.
  • As soon as you are ready, start dropping down into yourSelf as you count your blessings and FEEL it fill your body. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual selves will thank you for it!
  • Remember, you can always change the format if you are led to try something different in the future. This is all about what feels joyful to you.

 

Next week, we’ll delve into the final step–one that can be especially challenging as a human living in an instant-gratification, pressure-filled world… Step 3: Be gentle with yourself!! For now, just allow yourself to be curious, and explore the joyful shifts that grateful connection can bring into your life!!

 

xoxo–Cid

 

Trackbacks

  1. […] you ready for Step 2? Let’s talk about […]