Intentional June: Gratitude
It feels like each month I have gone into the first couple of days with one intention in mind only to have another vision for the month become more clear. You may recall my final intention for May was self care. I was able to incorporate most of my plans for self-care and the process was cathartic. Near the end of the month I was faced with an in-progress family challenge that would have been much harder to handle if I was still in the chaotic space where the month began. In my long term plans for my months of intention, I had mapped out for June to be a month of movement (getting outside more, focusing on my yoga practice, etc.). However, a more important intention has taken its place.
This morning both a chapter in a book I was reading and the theme of one of the podcasts I regularly listen to revolved around Gratitude. Clearly I was being sent a message to remember and rejoice in all the amazing gifts and opportunities I have in my life. Meik Wiking's words in The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living expressed it so succinctly. "We often remind each other not to take things for granted. Gratitude is more that just a simple "thank you" when you receive a gift. It is about keeping in mind that you live right now, allowing yourself to focus on the moment and appreciate the life you lead, to focus on all that you do have, not what you don't." Sounds an awful lot like mindfulness! (By the way we will delve into Hygge another day).
So my intention for June changed this morning to a focus on Gratitude. Some time ago I was keeping a gratitude journal, but just let the habit fall to the wayside. I am bringing it back with a social media twist. To keep myself true to my commitment and encourage others to find their own opportunities for gratitude I will be posting one thing daily wherever you follow me on social media. I will recap each item here on the blog at month's end. Personally I am committing to taking time at the beginning and end of each day to write down at least one unique thing that I am grateful for. Some days may be the big picture items (health, home, etc) others may be the little random acts of kindness from strangers. My plan is to look outside the usual and cultivate the feeling and opportunity for gratitude throughout the day.
A study conducted at UC Davis found that people who feel grateful are happier, more helpful and forgiving and less materialistic than those who do not. They also noted that grateful people tend to recover more quickly from trauma and suffering and are less likely to get stressed out. Sounds like a winner on all fronts to me. I usually start reflecting on gratitude as a natural course of action in November (yes the Thanksgiving cliche), instead won't you join me now in a Gratitude filled June.