Gratitude : A Silver Lining for Mental Fitness
The term "gratitude" seems to be everywhere. It's trending for sure. But, what's the buzz all about? And how can gratitude help you in your life?
As a reminder, we believe that fitness is a state of mind. Mindset, emotions, and beliefs are the elements of a fit mind. And a fit mind is the foundation for health in all areas of your life. So, fitness isn't just about your body. Mental fitness is about strengthening your body, mind, and spirit. Gratitude is one way to see your silver lining and achieve mental fitness.
Here is how Harvard Health Publishing defines gratitude:
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Don't we all prefer happiness over fear, doubt, and stress? You see, when you become thankful for what you have, you are not focusing on what you don't have. When you are being positive, you are not being negative. In fact, it's impossible to be both at the same time.
Research in neurology shows that our brains cannot have more than one thought at a time, and with each thought (memories or ideas), we have an emotion attached to it. If we continuously think about what bothers us or what we don't have, can't do, can't become...we are increasing the negative, unhealthy feelings that shape us, including how we feel about ourselves and how others view us. And that make us feel BAD!
We all desire to feel GOOD! And, guess what? Joy and happiness are there waiting for you to discover it. When you learn to switch what you think about from something bad to something good and do it more and more often, you are changing your mindset to achieving a more positive attitude about life.
I know you may be thinking: Life is TOO hard. So here's the thing, YES, life is hard!...which is the very reason adopting a gratitude mindset will help improve your life.
Here's a little secret: Amidst our many dark clouds of challenges lies any number of things we can be grateful for. Often, the little things that we take for granted or fail to recognize are our silving linings. Here are some examples:
My job is so stressful...BUT, I am grateful that I have a home, have food on the table, and can provide for my family.
I feel so weak and tired...BUT, I am grateful that I have all my arms and legs, I can stand, and I can put one foot in front of the other.
My car is old and tired...BUT, I am grateful that my car takes me from point A to point B.
I am fat and out of shape...BUT, I am grateful there are programs and people I can turn to for help.
I may have really messed up...BUT, I learned a lot from the experience.
In essence, gratitude is a mindset shift. You are redirecting your attention from feelings that don't feel good to those that do feel good. When you practice expressing gratitude, the better you get and the more often you'll see the positives in life. As a result, you will gain the joy that you deserve and develop the mental fitness that is needed as a foundation for growth in all other areas of your life.
There are many different strategies and tactics to expressing gratitude and here are a few ideas:
Keep a gratitude journal.
Write a letter of thanks for a person's love, friendship, support, and help.
Make a gratitude list: go to a quiet place and write down 10 things you are grateful for, then read and reread them aloud to yourself; or share them aloud to others to reinforce them.
Look for the opportunities. So many times in life, unpleasant things happen to us and then, in time, something good comes out of that experience, like a better job or relationship. Try to open up to any opportunity that might be there in difficult situations and use this new insight to find greater hope and strength.
Be thankful for who you are instead of criticizing yourself which erodes self-confidence. Your special talents, skills, personality and qualities all make up the unique and special person you are.
Try practicing gratefulness strategies for 21 days. Scientists say that after 21 days, you will have created a habit..and this one will be a positive, life-changing habit!
It's easy to focus on what's not going right, but there's always so much more that is. Even in situations that aren't going the way we want them to, we CAN find the silving lining. Expressing gratitude is one effective way to gain the mental fitness that leads to happiness.
Here at Sapp’s Fitness Garage, we believe that fitness is a state of mind. It starts from the inside and manifests toward the out. Our goal is to make your journey to fitness a positive experience, starting with support and encouragement from our staff and members. We invite you to become part of our fit fam! Visit our website to learn more: https://www.sappsfitnessgarage.com/fitness-programs