You know how when things seem like they’re calming down, when life seems like it’s got some smooth water all around and there are no waves coming? You know that feeling? And THEN, WHAM a speedboat goes by and you’re tossed and flipped out of your inner tube? You know that feeling?
We’ve had that moment this summer. We’ve a summer of plans for fun and birthday celebrations and peace and calm.
Then two weeks ago, my sweet fiancé, Steve, had a mini-stroke. It turns out that he’ll be absolutely fine. That first night in the hospital we heard a code blue in the burn unit. Coming from a medical family, I knew exactly what it meant. My heart went out to the family and I said a silent thanks. While we were inconvenienced and scared for a moment, Steve wasn’t in pain and in a fairly short amount of time we knew he was going to be fine.
It turns out the family that I was saying a prayer for was Steve’s. His nephew coded and died that evening a few floors above our room.
A few days later, Steve was released and has returned to normal activity. A few days after that we spent most of the day with family, saying goodbye to his nephew and then the rest of the day at his grandson’s 7th birthday party.
Needless to say, it’s been A LOT.
So, I’ve been thinking about walking through tough times a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how anxiety and depression can keep us from showing up in the way that we’d like.
How do we walk through those things that seem impossible? What gives us the strength and the perseverance to get to the other side?
At our house, we’ve been sinking into gratitude. We’re thankful for the obvious; that Steve is alive and well and functioning just like before. We’re grateful that we’re home and not still in the hospital. There’s gratitude for the return to normal life, instead of going to physical and occupational therapy and living at the hospital.
We’re lucky and for that we’re grateful.
While this kind of gratitude is helpful during a crisis and to help process after a crisis.
However, to have a get all the great benefits of gratitude, a sense of well-being, better sleep, stronger immune system, feeling more kind and compassionate, it’s important to have a regular practice.
There are simple things you can do. Google gratitude and you find a multitude of ideas. The two that I find most helpful is keeping a journal where I occasionally write gratitude reflections. I may go through a period where I write 3-5 things that I’m grateful for on a daily basis. It helps keep me grounded in what’s true.
The other thing that we do in our household consistently is say thank you to each other on a daily basis. When I wake up in the morning, I give my love a kiss, say good morning and tell him how happy I am to wake up next to him and say thank you for this beautiful life we have together.
At night when we’re going to bed, we usually take a few moments to talk as we’re drifting off. We say thank you for the day, for whatever was especially pleasant about the day-a good meal, time with family, laughing really hard and then always, that we’re so lucky to have this life together.
Gratitude keeps me grounded. When the anxiety starts to get bigger, gratitude keeps it right-sized.
What are gratitude practices that you like the most? if it’s been awhile, today is always the perfect day for gratitude.
Would you like to practice gratitude with A Yogi Kitchen? Want to better manage your mental health using tools like gratitude and self-care? Join me at the end of the summer for BreatheOnline. It’s an online course The end of the summer, getting ready for back-to-school, is big and exciting this year. All the workshops are in Lawrence, right outside of Kansas City.
Registration for BreatheOnline opens July 25. We’re having a bit of a problem with the website. The BreatheOnline description page will go up that day too! Join us!