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Taking time for gratitude

Episode 58 Transcript

[00:00:00] We all deserve to have fulfilling careers and lives. We deserve to experience joy and peace, and freedom and all of those things that make us feel truly alive.

It takes a lot of courage. For us to take the reins in our lives and take action that honors the deepest parts of ourselves in this current season of life, it takes a lot of courage to lean into growing and to lean into learning, and to know when it's time to make a change. I am a v. I'm a first generation Latina mom of three, and life and high performance coach to women just like you.

And this podcast is for all of us looking to grow and learn and explore what a joyful and fulfilling life and [00:01:00] career can look like and how to start living into that life. Right now, we're going to, And we're going to honor our truth in this podcast, and the best thing is we're gonna do it together. So welcome to the Humble Rising Podcast.

It's the holiday season and I love the fall. I love heading into holiday season. I love December, new Year's, all of it. I celebrate Christmas probably the entire month of December. Even in the summer, especially during Covid, like when it hit August, I, I would say, oh, great, Christmas is almost here. And people would say, no, we have to dread the summer.

But I was, I just love the fall and I like the holidays. So if I had it my way, we would have our [00:02:00] Christmas tree up the first week of November. And um, I often. on the couch in front of our tree when it's all lit up and it's all decorated and there's something so peaceful and joyful about sitting there, just sitting there by myself, by the way, by myself.

No, no children. Um, sitting there by myself, reading in front of a lit up Christmas tree. So lit up Christmas trees are a big source of happiness for me, and I did that a lot. Last year when I was going through a rough time, it definitely made me feel a bit better, even if it was just for a moment. But when it comes to this time of year, aside from the new smells and the decorations and all of that, I do, I do think of what.

I am grateful for, and I've probably always been that way. I've probably always done that at [00:03:00] this time of year, even if I wasn't super intentional about it. But you know, maintaining a gratitude practice, right? Expressing what you're thankful for when things are going. Is not as hard as when things are painful or when things are stressful or overwhelming, right?

But that's when, to me, gratitude has the most impact when it's hard to do it. It has the most impact, but it's hard to do it, not when it comes so easy to you. So I wanna talk about what gratitude is, why it's important to practice it and it's power, and some of the ways that we can have a gratitude practice.

When I was in a dark place last year, I still did my gratitude practice as much as I could. And it got really basic right? Like when it, you're going through a tough time, it becomes super, and I use [00:04:00] basic in quotes cause everything's relative, right? But I would say, okay, I'm grateful for life, like literally to wake up that day life and for the health of my family and my children.

It was one of the things, meaning those three things, right? Like health of my family life, these are things that even for months, that was my list. Like it didn't really change. I added, I remember adding financial security instability, right? Oftentimes. So it was financial security, kids, family health. And those are mine for a very long time.

For months. Which again, are there significant things? They're significant things to feel and to have, right? Like health, love, security, and being able to live life and be awake. Right? So what gratitude did for me was keep me a little bit more grounded, right? So even when I felt like I was in this black hole and I would [00:05:00] say I couldn't see the light yet, when you're in darkness and you can't even see the light to move towards it, you don't even see that yet.

That's really hard. And that's where I was. But even when I felt like. I still knew I had these people, my family, friends, the kids, and I knew I had these people. I had my people and a life that I still wanted to live and a life that I was grateful for. Right? So that was still always present. And I remember filling out, there's this depression, anxiety questionnaire that if you ever see a therapist or you see a psychiatrist, you, you fill these out and you fill them.

Periodically, and also when you start treatment, they'll ask you to fill out. Well, I think they will. I don't know. I'm not a doctor, so please consult your physician or medical team and if you wanna look into that further, but I personally remember filling out a questionnaire every couple of weeks, and I remember the questions focusing on things [00:06:00] like, , do you have pleasure or interest in doing things right?

Do you feel joy when you do things? Do you feel like a failure to yourself or to your family? Do you feel hopeless and sad? And how often do you feel this way? Right? So it would say, I never feel this way, meaning not at all, several days. I feel this way. I feel this way all the time. And so you basically would fill this out, say how often you had these feeling.

and it's a very long list of questions. Not too long, but there's, there's maybe like 10 or so or plus questions, but one of the questions they always ask is, do you ever feel like hurting yourself or that it would be better if you were not here? Or did you ever have thoughts about doing this in any. and every time I would answer that question when I thought about it, it was because of my kids, my parents, my husband, my sister, my family, and the support of friends and colleagues that although I [00:07:00] didn't know when I'd see that light.

Again, that light amidst the darkness, right. Even though I wasn't seeing it and I didn't know when I would, I knew I wanted to stick around to see it at some point. I knew I wanted to stick around. Like the answer to that question was always n no, right? Always. It was like the only question I answered no to, but you know, I'm not saying I wanna be clear because I'm not saying that gratitude is the end all, be all.

It certainly was not that for me, nor am I suggesting that it is the single most effective game changer when it comes to your wellbeing. Or when it comes to how to feel more joy or life satisfaction, right? Like I don't think the research shows that, or even anecdotal evidence supports that, but I know gratitude does make a difference, and there is a ton of research out there on that.

There is a lot of research on the benefits of a gratitude practice and how much it can help us really navigate. [00:08:00] Obstacles, challenges, stresses better, like it makes a difference in that sense, and it can help you experience more joy and improve your wellbeing. There's a psychology professor from uc Davis, who is an expert in the science of gratitude.

This is what he studies, and I love the way that he frames gratitude. It's Professor Robert Emmonds, if you're interested, and he says Gratitude really has two component. . The first is an affirmation of the good, so people really enter their day, noticing all the abundance and the good that's already around them, right?

Without them having to do anything or say anything or see anyone, they're able to enter their day, noticing all the good around them. They take the time to notice. They take the time to put their attention to all that goodness that already surrounds him. And then he says that there is this second part of gratitude, and that is about recognizing that the [00:09:00] source of the goodness often rests outside of ourselves, right?

That we're receiving these gifts from other people, from maybe the universe from a higher power, that there's something else at play, not just. For the abundance that we do have, right? And the good that we are seeing and experiencing. So gratitude really helps people feel that they wouldn't have what they have or be where they are without something else at work.

It could be other people's support, could be people's help, it could be God. It's that interconnectedness of that definition of gratitude. And so when we look at, all right, how does this make a difference for improving our mental and emotional wellbeing? People and this hap, this happens to me all the time, right?

I mean, we're human. People are more aware of the negative stuff and the difficulties and the challenges that are coming. , right? When you wake up, when you look to the week, when you look to [00:10:00] the next month, or just in life generally, right? You're more aware of the negative stuff, the bad experiences, the barriers.

And so we wake up and think of all we have to do, what we haven't done yet, all the things that we have yet to accomplish, or how this or that isn't good enough or why things can't be different. and it really gets you into this negative head space really quickly from the moment you wake up. Especially if you wake up late and you have to get kids ready for school, which includes breakfast, brushing, teeth, packing a lunch, and a whole lot more when the kids are toddlers, right?

That irrational behavior will get you every time. But the point is you are more aware of what you think is quote unquote wrong. I say wrong cuz again, everything is. You are more aware of what you think is wrong in quotes or the obstacles and challenges or what you don't have more than you're aware and put attention to the things you do have.

The [00:11:00] blessings, the gifts, the positive things, and the positive people in your life. But when you choose to amplify all those positive things, all the blessings, research shows, you can also amplify feelings of optimism. You amplify the feelings inside. You have. Of happiness and you experience more positive emotions.

So it's a way to pay more attention to the goodness in our lives that's always been there or that is there in the moment, right? So we don't ignore negative emotions. We don't push them down. We don't use gratitude as a weapon and try to beat ourselves up with comparative suffering. You know, our inner gremlins love to try and do.

They tell us it could be worse. They tell us we should be grateful because we're so privileged for whatever it is that we have or whatever life we're experiencing. But gratitude is more about amplifying the good than it is about ignoring negative emotions. . [00:12:00] It's more about amplifying the good than it is about ignoring negative emotions.

It allows us to shift our perspective. It really lets us see a bigger picture, even when things are hard, and it gives us permission if we needed any permission, right? Here it is. It gives us permission to be stressed, to be overwhelmed, to be upset, to be hurt, to be angry, to be annoyed, to be tired, and to be.

That duality is really important because we tend to shame ourselves with gratitude, but the true power of gratitude is allowing ourselves to be grateful and to feel all the other things too. Right? I can be overwhelmed and exhausted as a working mom with three kids, and also feel a profound, deep love for them.

That words could never. I can be annoyed that I have to make lunch for them and be so thankful that [00:13:00] we have food to eat and that I have the privilege to be able to make it for them. I can be upset about the teeny toys and the, the shoes of the little dolls and the Legos on the floor, and be grateful for my kids a sense of play.

I can be upset that my husband puts his coffee mug in the sink when the dishwasher is empty and it's four inches from the. Right. I can get upset about that. Not really upset, but annoyed, but I can feel that way and be thankful that he puts it in the sink. That's good. And that he's a great partner and he's my best friend.

Right. Those things can, can coexist and I really want us to all notice the difference in the and. Right. What I've been saying is different from if I had said, I should not be upset or I should not be annoyed because at least I have a supportive husband. At least I have children. At least my children are healthy, and all of these things that we tell ourselves that aren't helpful, right?

They're not kind to [00:14:00] us, right? That's when people say what serves you? Like, what's kind to you? What is helpful to you? That's not helpful to you, right? They just make us feel worse. Those thoughts make us feel worse when we believe this lie that we have to choose. Which feeling we're going with today? Am I upset or am I grateful?

Well, no, it's not that you shouldn't be upset. You can be upset and you can feel grateful at the same time, and that's okay. Right? It's not all or nothing. So it's gratitude and whatever feeling you have, it's not, or it's, and, and I really love the power of and because it almost goes with everything. But that's what's so fascinating about the gratitude research, right?

It's not that people didn't experience difficult challenges or that they ignored the challenges that they had, or they ignored the negative emotions they had or the experiences they had, it's that they made room to also bring attention to g. Right. They held space for both of those things or those experiences at different points in their lives.

[00:15:00] And if you follow Brene Brown, even in her research, she has shared that every person she interviewed who described living a joyful life or described themselves as joyful, practiced gratitude. and they attributed their joyfulness to that gratitude practice. And for them, gratitude and joy were described as practices grounded in this interconnectedness, this belief of human connection and a power beyond us, a power that was greater than us.

So let's now talk about how do you do this gratitude practice thing? I mean, the key is that it's a practice, which means you have to do something right. Repeatedly, but there are no hard and fast rules. Right. So the more you do it, I think the more benefits you probably get from it. I have a daily gratitude practice where I bring to mind, so I bring attention to what I'm thankful for each [00:16:00] morning.

I used to write it all down, though. I used to write it all down in a gratitude journal, and it's a journal that I've recommended to a lot of other people as well, because I think it's really great when you're starting your gratitude. But I use my morning routine to bring what I'm thankful for to mind, and I just bring my attention to it.

I notice it and. , it takes literally a minute or two to do, and I do it when I'm in the bathroom, literally about to rush my teeth. That's when I do it, and I still journal. I always journal, so I often write what I'm thankful for in there. Whenever I write, like I don't write in my journal every day. So it's not part of my, technically, part of my gratitude practice.

So I do the gratitude practice in the morning. As part of my routine. And then I also will add, I always add, you know, things I'm thankful for, excited about when I'm journaling, when I do that. I also pray at night with my two year old, well, she's not [00:17:00] two yet, but she's almost two before I put her in her crib.

So we do a prayer in Spanish and then we say, or I say, the people that she and me. Who we are grateful for and what we are grateful for. And it's often family, it's often friends and we'll list them since we don't, we'll do health. I'll say I'll, you know, pray for all the children in the world. We do different things, but there are some constants, which is usually, you know, family and health and friends and.

I obviously say all this out loud to her. She's two or almost two. So all she says right now is the Amen part, right? Like, when I say in name of the Fathers and Holy Spirit, she'd be like, amen. And so, um, that's all she, she knows, but she knows that I'm starting to say the prayer. She starts like, oh, it's bedtime.

Okay? Like, it's part of her bedtime routine. But you could really do your gratitude practice in the morning. You could do it at night. You could do this whenever you, if you pray, if that's your thing, it's your [00:18:00] jam. You could do it then. , whenever you journal, if that's your thing, or whenever you're by yourself in the bathroom looking in the mirror, or you know, if you're like me, you wanna do it when you brush your teeth, maybe it's when you're washing your face in the morning or when you're about to work out.

Like right before your workout, you're in the mirror. You just take some time to bring attention to what you're thankful for. It's really up to. It's really up to you. Like I said, there are no rules, so don't get too worried if you are not sure what to do, but you wanna try some stuff, I think that's the best thing to do is try and see what works for you and don't get worried if you miss a day or two.

Expressing gratitude isn't something on your to-do list like you, you shouldn't feel. Maybe it will feel forced at first. You'll be like, okay, I have to do my gratitude. Maybe it will feel forced at first. Let's be honest. It'll be a little forced , but it still shouldn't feel like a to-do list all the time after you first start doing it.

Like it really shouldn't feel that way. and I say should, and I shouldn't say that. I shouldn't say or shouldn't feel that way. What [00:19:00] I'm saying is that what you will feel as you do it is less being forced and you'll likely feel more up pulling towards wanting to express that you'll feel less resistance.

That's what I'm trying to say. You're gonna feel less resistance and that's gonna feel good. So you. if you didn't quote, do your gratitude practice that day. But you're walking around your day and you're noticing and amplifying the goodness around you, rather than the challenges, the real challenges you probably face and the real stresses that life can bring.

Like you're doing pretty well. Like, oh, you didn't do your practice, but like you are kind of doing it, you're doing it in real time throughout your day, so that's okay. Right. And I'm not saying every day is gonna be fabulous because you did your gratitude practice. Like that's not what I'm saying. And the research doesn't show that either.

I'm not saying gratitude is again this end all, be all thing, but it is a tool in your toolbox. that with other things you do can help you feel more joy and [00:20:00] allow you to feel more grounded in your life. So let me share some other ways you can give practicing gratitude a try. And if you already kind of do one of these things or some of them, or if you do something else, you can try these.

Everyone is is different. So you try and if it doesn't work for you, you toss it and you find something else. Now, here's one thing you could try is you could say, and you can say this verbally, you can write it down. You can bring attention to it clearly in your mind in the morning or just while looking in the mirror, like I mentioned.

But all you say is, I am so grateful for. And then you name three things, or three people or three experiences that you're grateful. So I'm so grateful for my daughter singing to me and my other daughter's laughter in the morning when I go get her and my son's love of trains. These are all [00:21:00] true things.

He is still obsessed with trains at seven, which I love. . And so it's simple as that. You have to think about it a little bit and then it just flows. The second thing you could try, and this is a little bit different, it's rooted in the research, but it's a little bit different in terms of what you would be doing.

So you could, right now in this moment, like literally where you're listening to this podcast right now, or you can say, uh, I'm not doing that now at Evie, that's fine too, but you could do this now or once a week. You pick the day you text. Or email or call one person and tell them you appreciate them.

Tell them you're thankful for them, and tell them why. Like give them the specific reason, because this is powerful too, because studies show that thank you notes and expressing gratitude to the people who've impacted you or helped you in some way helps to boost positive emotions inside of you, right?

I'm sure you've experienced that. Like when you write a thank you card to someone or you send a quick. To them saying how [00:22:00] much you appreciate them and why it makes you feel good. Like it makes your heart feel good to know that they know what they did or what they said really mattered to you. Somewhat similar.

You could also use really direct prompts if you're writing these in your journal or if you are writing them in your notes app on your phone. If you have that app, you could think about one person. that taught you something important this year. Like, who was that? What did they teach you and why are you thankful for that?

You could think about one person who recently extended a kindness to you. Who was that person? What did they do? Why was that so helpful for you? Think about one thing that you were able to navigate. And overcome. In the past year, or the past month, the past week, what or who helped you do that? Who helped you navigate that and overcome it?

Again, you can write these down or you could even, you know, cuz you wanna [00:23:00] get it out of you, you wanna get it out of your head, out of your heart. So you can write it down, you can talk to a close friend or family member about it so you can really verbalize your feelings and express it. You could even text or email or call the person who this is about and tell.

Directly. I'm so thankful for you. You know, you really, you were there for me when it was really tough. You would check in on me and you would text me, and I really appreciated that. And I may not have texted you back right away, but know that it felt so good to know you were thinking of me and that you were there for me.

These are not the only ways you can practice gratitude, right? But these are some of the simpler ways, especially if you find approaching it to be over. . Like when people say, what's your gratitude practice? It can feel, it can feel very overwhelming. Like, what I should be doing what every day? Right? Like I'm trying to demystify that a little bit because it can be as simple as you wanna make it, and it can be as simple as it needs to be.

So that it fits with where you are in this season of [00:24:00] life. Some of us simply don't feel like writing down what we're thankful for in the morning, and that's okay. That's okay. Like try verbal only. Like try verbalizing only or try just bringing attention to it in your mind in the morning instead. Or you could say, you know what, Avie, I just wanna say one thing I'm thankful for in the morning while I'm brushing my teeth.

Great. Do that and then do that. Consist. The point is that to make it stick, it has to become something you do repeatedly, and if it sticks, when things get really, really hard and life continues to throw you these curve balls and you know, it's always like one for the other, right? Life isn't like, oh, here's a curve ball.

Let me let you recover. Here's another one. Let me let you recover. Life isn't do that. They're like, oh, here's five and Ralph, boom, boom, boom. Right? But that's the thing. It's like when things get harder and you feel like it's relentless. Curve balls. You'll have this [00:25:00] practice already and it's a tool that can help ground you just a bit more in those really tough moments and those really tough periods of life.

It's like that tiny tug to pull you a bit closer to center when you are in a very unbalanced, overwhelmed place. And look, that's a place so many of us have. Like so many of us have been there, even though we don't talk about that, like we've all been there. And so if that's you, look, I see you and I know what that's like, and you just keep going.

You keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get there. And when I say keep going, I also mean take your time. I also mean get the support you need. I also mean ask for help, right? The keep going is not, keep pushing. Those are two different things. Keep going is that you're here. You're here another day and another day, and you're gonna keep trying.

You're gonna keep doing your [00:26:00] best, all right? Don't forget how much power you still have, even in this moment, right? You always have this power to live how you deserve to live. You have the power to work how you deserve to work, right? So you continue to just go step into what you deserve. Okay? And I'm hoping this gratitude practice will help with.

Let me know how it goes. You know where you can find me. You all know where you can reach out to me. So I'm looking forward to hearing anything that's changed for you if you start any of these gratitude practices. Okay? Talk to you next time.[00:27:00]


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