Gratitude: the antidote to stress and a busy, drive-by life

gratitude gratitude gravy Nov 16, 2019

Gratitude GRAVY day #2

I think we all probably are a little guilty of living a drive-by life. We have drive-by conversations with our loved ones, we speed through our day, plow through our inboxes, rush through our to-do list and then we count down until the weekend.

We tend to breeze right past a whole lot of what we could be grateful for in the present.
That's one of the beautiful benefits of gratitude. Gratitude makes us stop, recognize, acknowledge and appreciate whatever good is happening right in front of us.

As one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, so beautifully puts it, to appreciate life, you just have to be open for business. 

Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds … Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given.

We just have to be open for business. 
-Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow

Our lives might be swirling, our stress hormones might be skyrocketing, yet, I promise there is plenty we can be grateful for if we are paying attention.

And guess what? A gratitude practice is related to a 23% reduction in cortisol. Because newsflash, it's quite difficult to be stressed and grateful at the same time. 



We can all agree that gratitude helps us recognize and amplify what's good in our world. But guess what else helps us do that? PHOTOGRAPHY! Photos can help us not only capture a moment, but see it from a different perspective and savor it, too. Photography helps the gravy stick with us longer. 

Gratitude Gravy Practice #2
Slow down and look for the good today by writing out 3 good things from your day. And take a photo of at least 1 of them. Jot down a sentence or two about why you were grateful for this particular moment in your day.

The photos can be as simple as noticing a sunset or as significant as your winning lottery ticket. These do not need to be fancy photos. 

This is one of my all-time favorite practices because it helps you get specific and it forces you to push the pause button for a moment, open your eyes to what you might be missing and acknowledge all that is good and right in front of you. 

Example: Here are my 3 good things:


1) I had a great experience taking my twins to the tattoo parlor (not something I ever thought I'd do) to get their ears pierced. Ben was so kind, careful, he explained everything, put the girls (and me!) at ease and did a fantastic job. They were so nervous and then so pleased with themselves!


I call this photo babies' first tattoo parlor visit. Happy customers and a relieved mama (behind the lens).

2) This morning, my 6 am yoga class was serenaded during Shavasana. A fellow yogi classmate with a gorgeous voice surprised us all by singing Stand by Me while we were on our mats with cold washcloths over our eyes. It was a stunning ending to a stellar class, to say the least.


Wall outside of the yoga room where I heard the Stand by Me serenade

3) I got home from yoga and a family member sent me an email with her 5 specific sentences (from today's gratitude gravy prompt). They were so sweet and heartfelt they made me cry. It was the best note to see in my inbox. 

GRAVY tip:
In our family, we also share our 3 good things at the dinner table. It helps with one-word conversations and/or the tendency for all of us to automatically complain about work or school when asked about our day. I love doing this practice at dinner. 

BTW, the three good things intervention originally came from Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania and has later been heavily researched by Brian Sexton at Duke University.

What's astounding is that in the repeated studies, happiness levels go through the roof, even 6 months later (compared to antidepressants), after just a simple daily practice of writing and acknowledging 3 good things in your day. It's well worth putting this practice into action on the regular. 

Gracias-
Lizzie Larock
Coach & Creator of Gratitude GRAVY & The Life Feast

PS If you know anyone who would enjoy this free daily gratitude challenge, please tell them to sign up here. There's no "behind" in gratitude gravy, anyone can jump in at any time. Don't forget to use #gratitudegravy to amplify and share your practice. Come say hi in the Facebook group here or tag me on Instagram.

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