Written by Tara Bruce, Goodwin Investment Advisory’s, Creative Brand Manager.
(plus, certified life coach)
Let’s be real. Right now — we are living in stressful times with a global pandemic, an uncertain economic state, earth shutting down, and the unknown effects all of this will have. But, in the meantime lets work on the things we CAN have a positive effect on.
People everywhere are freaking out. All the negative energy and thoughts are affecting all of us. Our thoughts are powerful and can change everything, but we are going to have to rise above our circumstances and rally together. We are going to have to choose to find gratitude and raise our frequencies and vibrations. Did you know that thoughts have different frequencies and gratitude is one of the highest frequencies that exists? Of course it is, because according to my good friend Jerome Lubbe, who also happens to be a neuroscientist, fear cannot live inside of your brain at the same time as gratitude. So, science proves that gratitude and thankfulness casts out fear. According to scientist Louie Schwartzberg in his Ted talk called the Frequency of Gratitude he claims, “The high vibrational energy of gratitude is something that will greatly benefit those who consciously embrace it, and embody it, every day.” There is even a bible verse that says this same thing, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and meditation, with THANKSGIVING, present your request to God. And, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” (Phil 4:6-7). Let’s let our minds be filled with peace.
I know it’s easier said than done, but here are some ideas to help you facilitate a spirit of gratitude.
Make a grateful jar. You can choose when to fill it. In my house we fill the jar on Thursday evenings around the dinner table and call it “Thankful Thursdays.” You can add notes to the jar anytime during the week, but Thursday evenings are specifically set aside for this ritual. We have been doing it for 9 years now and it is a beautiful tradition. We gather to read each year’s thankful notes on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the year we just lived and start the new year with a thankful heart.
You can celebrate the little joys by thinking of the things you were grateful for each day as you lay down to go to sleep.
Start each day by setting your intentions for the day. Write them down on a sticky note and place it somewhere you can see it. Or, use a dry erase board. Having this reminder throughout the day can help you to live with more intentionality.
Be present. Be thankful for you’re HERE and NOW.
One thing that really helps during stressful times is to make sure you are getting enough restful sleep at night. In times of stress this can be much more difficult, but here are some helpful sleep tips along with a few other things to keep your body feeling healthy and refreshed.
Establish a sleep schedule that at least allows you to get 7 hours of sleep at night.
Create the perfect sleep atmosphere. You will need a cool environment. Sleep is best when the temperature is set between 60-68 degrees. Keep your room dark, which means close your blinds and curtains and turn off all lights including electronics. You will want to make sure your phone is set on airplane mode. You can even use earplugs or a sound machine to help you tune out any noises.
A Morning workout will help you to boost your energy and to de-stress. Exercise helps you to have more restful sleep at night and also helps you to be more alert during the day. A 2011 study of over 2,600 adults found that those who exercised for 150 minutes a week enjoyed 65% better sleep than their non-exercising peers.
Try yoga and meditation – both are great at reducing stress and helping you attune to your body. Yoga Nidra is a specific form of yoga designed to help you sleep. If you want some guided meditation I highly recommend the Headspace App.
Choose a relaxing activity before bed. You can take a warm bath, or practice some deep breathing exercises, or you can read, or journal. Have you read, The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.? Or, check out this journal by Elena Brower called, Practice You.”
Have a dance party, or listen to some uplifting music. Music bypasses your head and goes right to your heart. Plus, dancing can allow your body to move and release stress through non-linear movement. If you haven’t heard of the practice of non-linear movement by Michaela Boehm, you should check it out. It’s a great way to release stored toxins and emotions that are hiding within your body.
Laughter. Always remember to laugh and enjoy quality time with people you love. During this social distancing – get creative. If you are going to watch Netflix, they are offering a new way to watch TV through groups and you can even comment and interact with people while watching the show. Use digital meeting spaces to interact and keep conversations going. Within your family you can play a board game, cook together, or go on long walks. Currently, we are living in a bit of a different rhythm then were used to, but if we can embrace it, we might enjoy this season. One day you will be asked, “How did you spend that time in 2020, during the global pandemic?”
Keep your body hydrated! Lots and lots of water. Drink a glass of water first thing out of bed and right before bed. It is proven to be great for your heart and your metabolism.
Your spirit is at the root of who you are and connects you to all the things that matter – your health, your work, your relationships… Your spirit is YOU and everything that makes you YOU — including your character, memories, beliefs, and values. It’s what makes you unique and you need to cultivate that. In the end it is your spirit that will be your legacy. How you made people feel. Here are some ways to strengthen your spirit, especially in these current times.
Meditation and prayer have been proven to be good for your body, mind, and spirit. Meditate on your intentions for this season. Ask yourself, “What is the meaning of this season?” “How is this happening FOR me and not TO me?”
Recite scriptures that connect with you. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:6-7
Open your heart. Be generous. Challenge what you currently know. Ask good questions with the desire to learn from others perspectives and point of view. Also, ask yourself, “How can I give in this season… How can I support those around me… What can I sacrifice that will be life changing for others?”
Do things that bring you joy – whatever they may be. For me, it’s learning something new, like skateboarding at 39, or engaging my creativity, or exploring in nature. Whatever it is for you, make time to do those things.
Work on your shadows and triggers. Embrace those parts of yourself too. Give yourself grace, because all too often we are our own worst critic and we can be relentless with our judgement.
There is an old practice called “welcoming prayer” that has radically benefited my life. It is a practice of inner awakening. Here is a poem based on this practice that you can contemplate on.
The Welcoming Prayer
Gently become aware of your body and your interior state.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security. I let go of my desire for approval. I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person, or myself.
I open to the
love and presence of God
the healing action and grace within.
––– Mary Mrozowski 1925-1993