Slowing Down to Make Space for Gratitude
A gratitude practice doesn’t solve all our problems.
There, I said it. It really doesn’t.
I know, I know. I spent an entire blog post last week talking about the benefits of gratitude and different types of gratitude practices.
But, when gratitude doesn’t work, I think it’s worth asking ourselves if that’s because a daily gratitude practice simply isn’t enough to fix the problem.
(This is why antidepressants and food shelves exist, for example. And if this is the case for you, there are more effective solutions out there that can work in tandem with a gratitude practice. All you have to do is ask for support.)
OR is it not enough because we’re just going through the motions without pausing to really FEEL grateful for what we have or what’s going right?
What I mean is, when our plates are too full or when our minds are racing about what we have to do later in the day or what made us mad yesterday, we aren’t all that open to noticing the smell of that incredible cold-press coffee right in front of us or the way our partner is lovingly gazing at us.
We all could stand to slow down just a little.
I really think that when we slow down, we’re naturally more open to feeling grateful. We might not even need a gratitude jar or journaling habit to make us pay attention (though the habit never hurts).
And seriously, if we are already busy multitaskers, how in the world are we going to fit in one more task like journaling into our already overflowing days?
There’s really only one way. You guessed it: SLOW DOWN.
So, in this week’s video, I’m talking about literally HOW we can slow down. And, for once, I’m not going to tell you to delegate tasks or scratch to-do’s off your list so you can do less. Because who are we kidding? The holidays are upon us.
Check out the video and transcript below.
WATCH THE VIDEO:
This video previously aired as a Facebook Live. You can follow Happy With Baby on Facebook to catch all their live videos here.
Hey there. Happy Thursday and another Facebook live. And this month, I've been talking about the benefits of gratitude and having a gratitude practice.
Last week, I was discussing kind of the science behind the practice of gratitude and the benefits it can have on your health, just the whole range of different health benefits, and ways to kind of incorporate that into our daily lives.
But today I want to talk about how do you actually do that? How do you incorporate it into your lives? Because I know a lot of us are busy and I know that I feel like there's like this basic piece of it that we need to do to help us move along and I think that basic kind of simple piece is that that piece of slowing down, but how do you actually do that?
I think one of the biggest roadblocks is that we're always on the go, right. And so, we're just so busy moving. We're so busy doing like everything that we have to do as parents, as new parents, like everything--new things are coming up. We're having to learn new things and it can get frustrating and it can get overwhelming.
We're always kind of moving at that fast pace that we kind of forget to slow down, step back and take it one step at a time.
And so I don't know about you, but how many times have you like multitask things, right? Like you're reading something or you're answering emails while you're eating. Or like, have you ever been on the phone while you're also trying to answer emails or something like that? Like I may or may not be guilty of that just even today, but I think this is so like not uncommon for many of us.
I know I'm not the only one. I've talked to many people here just even in my office about that.
I think it's so commonplace that's like we have all these things that make life easier and on the go like drive-thrus and delivery and all sorts of things, but when we're in that constant state of this go mode, right, all the time, it's easy to focus on the things that get in our way and that are upsetting.
Like, say you're driving to work and you hit all the red lights, right, and we get frustrated. We get angry. We get upset. Maybe. Some of us, maybe. Guilty. OK.
Or like you're trying to get out the door and your child ends up with a dirty diaper or they spill something, and then we're frustrated or angry and we're yelling and we're upset. It just seems like everything goes wrong, everything gets in our way.
Everything's upsetting and then where that's like oh here's more proof of how things are going wrong. Versus like okay, what are things going right? And we stop - we forget to kind of stop and look at, what are the things that are happening that are going well and supporting us and allowing us to be successful and that we do enjoy our lives?
So it's like kind of slowing down, like if we can slow down in that moment, like OK, I'm stopping here at the stoplight, but you know that's OK. And my kid has another dirty diaper that I have to change before I'm trying to get out the door, but now I have a few more minutes I can like engage with them and be and talk to them and as they're smiling hopefully, right. So if I can stay calm, then they can hopefully stay calm in that moment too. But when I'm feeling rushed and upset then they get--they sense that and they get upset too.
So what are some ways that you can actually slow down, right, and make that space for gratitude? It can be simple things. I talked about this in regards to self-care too - like it doesn't have to be big, extravagant things. Like I've got a write out all day every day what my list of gratitude things are. If you don't have time to do that, you know.
But just sometimes this pausing, right. If you're--when you drink something in the morning, like do you drink coffee? Do you drink tea? Do you drink some hot lemon water? Whatever it is. Like even just plain water or something. I mean, to take a minute in that time and savor it. And like, gosh, this tastes good. This is warm. And you know, maybe you put cream in your coffee, this is creamy. Like enjoy that moment in that moment, like I've got this nice drink to have, right.
And then, also reminding yourself that somehow everything does work out. When we're in that go mode and that frustration and everything keeps going on, I think we can react and--but if we can slow down, we can OK, everything always works out.
It's like, slow it down. We're in this moment. Like we're thinking ahead. It becomes overwhelming and we can catastrophize and think of all the things that aren't gonna be right, but in this moment, you're fine.
All my worries are future based. Like no, no, this hasn't happened yet. And I don't even know that it will happen, so me worrying about it happening, right, they're not founded on what's happening in this moment. And unless you're being chased by a bear, which I'm gonna guess most of you that are listening to me haven't been chased by a bear ever, but or are you experiencing imminent danger, you guys, you're okay. your problems are "figureoutable".
But if you feel when you get in those moments and you feel like you're spinning out of control, like you just need to reground yourself like in this moment. And something that I use a lot with my clients is like, and the moms I work with, it's like kind of using your senses and notice what's going on around you.
Exactly where are you? What do you feel? Like, do you feel this couch, you know, supporting you or the ground that you're you're standing on? Do you smell the coffee brewing in the background or that you're holding in your hands? Do you see the sunlight pouring through the window?
Can you hear, I don't know if you guys can hear it, but the leaves have been like blowing in the background all day. It totally feels like fall out. I even wore scarf, but anyways that's beside the point. But you know, like listening to the leaves in the background blowing.
So like using each of your senses to like ground you like in this moment. This is where I'm at. OK. So and just kind of step back and just look at the big picture, guys.
Sometimes it can help to do something for somebody else to like feel like okay this is--everything gets overwhelming when I'm in it, in my thing that I'm worried about, but if I can step back and help someone else or, you know, volunteer or even just helping your child do something, like okay we're rushing off, but OK, I'm gonna sit here. I'm gonna help you tie your shoes and maybe I can take a quick minute and teach you how I do it, or talk to talk you through it. And maybe you don't know, you're not gonna learn it in this moment, but I'm gonna start talking you through what it is that I'm doing and what's happening.
But if it's if it's too big of a commitment--because sometimes it is, you know--it's just like stepping outside and moving to another room or going for a quick walk. You know, I don't always have time, but sometimes even between my sessions, I like to go for a quick walk around the block. It's usually about five minutes, but depending on the time between clients, like it can be a perfect time.
But sometimes even like going out, like I'll go out the back door and just take a couple deep breaths in and breathe in like the cool fall air or whatever it is. Like in the summer, it gets kind of hot, but and just kind of take a few minutes and just like, OK, breathe in. Not even a few minutes, guys. Honestly, it's like a minute, but it could totally like reset where I'm at. Especially if it's like, you know, so I can then be present for the next people.
So if you can even do that with your kids. It's like overwhelming, you're frustrated, you're in a rush, it's like, OK, I might just take a minute. I'm gonna take a deep breath. I'm gonna ground myself here at this moment and move on, before I get in the car and we have to rush off to the thing, to the next place. And then that can make it easier to do the next thing.
So I hope this is helpful. I would love to hear what tips that you guys use and if you haven't already been following me, I've been doing my practice. I'm doing a gratitude challenge where every day I've been making a quick video that I post on Instagram and Facebook here, sharing something I'm grateful for.
And if you missed it this morning, my gratefulness is--it might be wearing down--is a dry shampoo. It's a totally cheesy life hack kind of thing, but every day something else. And granted, there's been much bigger and better things than that, but today that's what I'm grateful for, especially since it's like a crazy windy day.
But I would love to hear what you're grateful for, so if you post something like tag me in your posts. I'd love to see and enjoy with you.
So next week, I'm gonna be talking about the hustle and bustle of the holidays and how how do we survive all that, guys, and so I'm gonna share some tips, kind of build on some of the things that we've been talking about these last couple weeks.
And until then, you guys, take care.
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