By: Madisyn Priestley

The last year and a half has been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. Through all the ups and downs, new rules and social norms and having to cancel/reschedule so many events, it can be difficult to feel grateful. I know gratitude has not been a constant feeling for a lot of us, but I would like to challenge the idea of gratitude being a feeling rather than an act we can all perform.

We can practice gratitude; we can train our brains to be grateful for the little things every day. Personally, these last two months have been a time of heaviness in my life – I constantly feel as if I am drowning in intense emotions. I’ve always been a person who feels emotions so deeply, and it can be draining in a world that teaches us, especially women, to shrink ourselves and our emotions. It wasn’t until the beginning of October that I forced myself to start practicing gratitude. I wanted to feel lighter and happier, but I didn’t know how.

There are so many great resources out there to help us practice gratitude, which I will link below. I listened to podcasts, meditated, and journaled; anything an expert told me to do, I did it in hopes of feeling better. It wasn’t until I changed my whole perspective AND my daily routine did I see a shift. I think podcasts and all of those resources are amazing, and they help, but I still felt myself feeling sluggish and stuck in a “why me” mentality. I decided to start waking up early and going on sunrise walks, spending more time at home with my family, making an effort to spend time with myself doing things I genuinely enjoy. When I started doing things with intention, and talking to myself I felt grateful. I know that this can be difficult for us, to sit with ourselves in silence and dive into the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to confront, but I can promise you it’s worth it.

If you need some help getting into the practice of gratitude, I recommend the Gratitude Blooming Podcast. Their episode titled Infinite Possibility dives into all of the excitement that the future holds. The hosts challenge us to embrace the unknown and be grateful that we get an infinite amount of new possibilities each day. If podcasts aren’t your thing, try reading More than a Body: Your Body is an Instrument, not an Ornament by Lindsay Kite and Lexie Kite. These women do an amazing job discussing how to accept and love our bodies, and how we can express gratitude for the bodies we inhabit. Our Founder and CEO, Ivy, recommends the app My Gratitude. This is a free app that can be used for both daily gratitude and affirmations. If you would rather go the journaling route, Ivy has also came up with some journal prompts. I suggest using these to help understand yourself better.

  • What people or activities bring you the most joy?
  • What parts of you do you need to wake up??
  • What are you most grateful for in your life?
  • Who are you most grateful for in your life? How could you share that gratitude?

This month I challenge you to practice gratitude, to practice changing your mindset. Write three things down every morning that you are grateful for, write down one positive affirmation each day, meditate in silence, and move your body. Spend as much time with the people you love, hold them close to you and tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life. If you can’t think of some things to be grateful for, here are some of mine:

  • I get to wake up every day and work on becoming a better person
  • Mi abuela’s homemade empanadas
  • I get to watch my siblings turn into amazing people
  • Music
  • Getting to experience delicious food
  • Stepping on crunchy leaves outside

There is so much to be grateful for, but it can be hard for us to spot the good things each day when we are met with so much stress and uncertainty. Uncertainty is why we should be grateful. Be loud and proud with your gratitude towards not only your relationships, but to yourself! You are the person you spend most of your time with, and the only person you will surely spend the rest of your life with, so be overjoyed with gratefulness for that person. Every morning we get to wake up to endless possibilities and I cannot think of a more exciting possibility than whatever our minds dream up. Learn to embrace and enjoy the time you get to spend with yourself, because you are a great person to spend time with. The more you express gratitude towards yourself, the easier it will be to be grateful for everything else around you.