Photo By Mel Gabbi
Focusing on what you are grateful for, is one of the best ways to improve how you feel. Even during chaos, drama and change, there are things that we can focus on, that will increase our wellbeing, joy and happiness.
Practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to do so.
When we do it daily, It will increase good feelings and allow them to remain for longer .
Do you feel gratitude ?
At the end of this article, I have written a list that I made the other day. It starts with this simple act. However, before you read my list, I will shine a light on why this has It has become so apparent for me.
No matter how many challenges I have faced over the years, to notice each day what lights me up, opens my heart and helps me feel a sense of wonder and joy has never been so important. I was in a car accident in March and although walking out of a six-car smash, it really impacted me, literally on every level.
Looking back, prior to the crash, things had started to change and go much better. I had left my job last summer after wrangles about my role . I decided to take the time to go travelling to France and Italy by train. My boys were grown men now and It was now my time to pursue with more vigour what I had wanted.
It was the beginning of pursuing a simpler, less complex lighter and joyful path. I was practicing many of the things I had learned over the years in my training as a therapist and in the fields of personal development. meditation and yoga.
I was noticing the benefits of what I was applying .
Everything came to a halt in March . This was now the time to apply consistently, on a daily level, everything I know about health and wellness. I was forced to slow everything down to almost a standstill.
I was in a lot of pain, shock and having disturbing dreams. Every part of my body ached, and everything felt like a struggle. I was so stiff that when I crawled out of bed, I had to soak in a bath for an hour to relax my spasmed muscles. I had accidentally ordered 10k instead of 1k of Epson salts online but knowing the benefits, it wasn’t long before I had used it all.
My previous focus and experience of peace and calm, had been overtaken by the chaos my mind and body now felt. Everything had to be simplified. Having done some yoga and meditation every day for the last year.
I had a baseline to know what I was able to do, however even these simple stretches and bends had to be modified. I knew that remaining still and only taking pain killers was not going to help my mind body and spirit heal. Each day after a long bath I did very basic stretches and meditated. I knew the way to heal and alter my mind was to meditate and focus on a mantra or visualise my body healing and being fit and healthy again. Over the weeks I could see that these small steps were now helping me improve. After I did this, I would make a nice healthy breakfast and while doing so looked out the kitchen window.
My friends, brother and sons had been great. Some took me out for lunch or hospital appointments, and several brought me plants and bunches of flowers. They knew I was going to be spending a lot more time at home and that my garden although small was starting to flourish. It made my heart light up every time I looked at it. I knew the power of these very simple things on us.
The spring started to move towards summer, the mornings became brighter and I was now waking at 5am every day. Even when I started to go back into work, it took a lot of time to get my body moving. I knew that the benefit of movement on a consistent basis was not only helping me keep a hold of the progress but adding to the healing.
Being at home so much meant I wasn’t able to get out and enjoy my new passion for photography . I then wondered what I could do. I had to think creatively and realised I had been given a lot of flowers and in the recently painted room, with the greatest light ,I was able to spend hours looking through the lens and see how I could capture the beauty of each flower .
It was beginning to do things differently .
I needed to move out of the stuck-ness and same ways of doing things and I’m only just becoming aware of how significant this is.
The body can get stuck, trauma can be held in the body mind and soul.
We need to shift breath and move. I love trance and classical Indian music, so I play this a lot while practicing yoga or relaxing in the garden.
It helps my mind loosen the grip of cycle of negativity that it hooks into .
Each day I now noticed the sun coming up, the flowers responding to the light and as I walk through the house. I started to appreciate the effort I had made to brightening up the house before the crash. I had painted the rooms and added some of my favorate styles.
I had also been clearing all the cupboards and now that both sons were not living with me, I could now clear over 10 years of accumulated stuff. I find this a relaxing and therapeutic process.
When we start to focus on shifting stuff, clearing our houses and gardens or giving away things that remind of people and times that weren’t always pleasant, the energy also starts to shift too.
It helps us create a space in which for new fresh energy to flow and that also has wider implications on our lives. We don’t always see it at the time.
I was making new friends; I was in a new job and being introduced to new experiences.
Even with the crash I knew that I had started a possess peace and tranquillity 8 months earlier. But now I felt a range of feelings; shock anger pity and rage at how I now felt derailed. But I was also feeling really touched. Touched deeply by the generosity of my friends .Each had given me something unique to their personality and what they value.
I was now not the person they knew.
I was the person that was standing back and witnessing what and who remains in your life or doesn’t. I was also witnessing the joy at the small and large gestures. For a strong independent woman there also had to be a level of learning to receive.
The process also taught me how fragile we are, how our lives can turn in a moment but also who comes to your aid.
It highlighted how one decision can turn our lives upside down and inside out. I had wondered many times what would have happened if I hadn’t taken the route that day?
Yet I knew I had been through several difficult situations in the past and had got through them. But this was now challenging my capacity to trust that things would get better
I knew from all my professional work that inner resilience and a belief in something greater can get us through, even though I was tired at bouncing back.
But this time it hit me on every level. My health and capacity to manage the very simple things we do daily was now seriously reduced. My hopes at living a strong life full of vitality were dashed and I sunk into feelings of despair. Yet I knew how in the past that small steps each day can become something quite significant and had no choice but to apply the same philosophy.
I knew the power of yoga, of meditation and of mental focus. I knew deeply how our bodies can heal and with some effort we can start to see some improvement within a short time. This was going to be another test to all that I knew deep down.
I also felt much more compassion for others who equally had their lives turn around overnight, from stroke victims, to people having heart attacks or those who have neurological issues. life is tough enough at times but when your health and wellbeing dwindle, the very simple things like shopping, walking to the letterbox, getting into work, remaining focused on tasks and managing a trip somewhere become much harder.
That was March and after two months in ,I felt the benefits of that 10k of bath salts, the daily stretches, the healthy breakfast, the walk to the shop and the laying in my garden listening to healing music.
I still get exhausted, the dreams are less disturbing, and I can sustain focus longer. But what I have is this innate feeling every day at feeling thankful for being here, of improving and gaining some quality of life and that my friendships have deepened.
I have let drift where the energy just couldn’t sustain them. Sometimes, we don’t have to do anything , we just notice what and who changes shape.
We notice how we feel about it. Do we feel relief, sadness or longing? What it it we are longing for or holding onto? When you have more time to reflect ,these things become even more apparent.
The whole process reignited my interest in healing and more so the effect of trauma.
I’m fascinated about the mind body and spirit and would like to do something to help people who have found themselves in a similar position or who just have layers of stuff manifesting as physical illness.
I know passionately that when we take steps no matter how small we can change improve or even transform our lives. We don’t need big dreams and goals. My only goal was to get out of bed move and be able to get to the shops at first.
I still haven’t got a car, so it made everything much harder but thankfully I live in an urban town and close to all that I need. I even resurrected my idea of the benefits of online shopping. Amazon and I have become good friends.
I decided to write a list of what I love and here are some things I wrote and maybe you can do the same. Its these things that enable me to remain in a good mood. What we think affects our body, our capacity to heal and move beyond the current experience.
I noticed doing so meant my heart opened and a trickle of good feelings became more and more magnified. I purposely breathed harder as I drew in these magnificent feelings while wandering through the living room to the kitchen as I saw the magnificence before me.
All my plants were flourishing and I was looking forward to putting on my favorate tracks and sitting in the sun. The effect is simple yet so powerful.
It made me realise also that my mind had felt highjacked at times by the constant circular negative thinking that was re-activated from the crash. I had also discovered that by focusing on more and more I could evoke such opposite feelings. Which ones did I want? What feelings did I want to remain? I was curious to how long I could hold these for.
I got out my paper and pad. Writing them down somehow solidifies and magnetises them even more .
I’m still conscious I’m healing and there is some way to go before I’m back swimming, cycling and walking for miles. But I’m now back on track and savouring each magnificent gift I experience daily.
Yes stuff comes up that doesn’t feel so lovely at times but it passes.
Breath is a powerful tool.
Please note -There are many other things included in my back to life programme such as below are a couple of books I read within the first few weeks that helped me get me re focus.
Also. the gift of having someone listen to you, a supportive friend boss or therapist can help.
Healing music, aromatherapy oils, bath salts, homeopathic remedy’s (Arnica) and healthy food (smoothies, soup) and appropriate exercises/stretches.
All contribute to your overall capacity to improve your wellbeing.
I also listen to a lot of speakers on Beyond the ordinary and You Wealth Revolution, Matt Khan and Paul Selig and of course read articles by brilliant writers here on Medium.
Immersing yourself daily in what your drawn to that has a positive benefit is the key point.
Starting with gratitude can be one of the simplest yet most powerful things to do ….
My Gratitude List
Do Daily and see what happens
I love that I can feel the air flowing right through my lungs
I love that my sons have grown into beautiful young men
I love the calm serene colour in my bathroom
I love the flowers that are opening each morning
I love the sound of the breeze rushing through the res
I love that I live in a quiet neighbourhood
I love being able to use my fascination and explore topics of interest on the internet
I love the power of the mind and body to heal
I love my friends more deeply and see how they show their kindness
I love that I learnt to bring these people towards me
I love my new boss as she’s been the best boss for a while
I love my new laptop that makes writing more of a joy
I love all those living and passed that have added to my growth
I love my colleagues who have been so compassionate and kind
I love the taxi driver for helping me with my shopping
I love the train
I love looking out of the back window in the morning dew or the golden hour
I love the pure white windowsill where I ca shoot very small flowers
I love the feeling of the music as the trance like beat resonates throughout my body
I love the feeling of calm and stillness that I have learned to create even when my mind becomes fixated and overwhelmed
I love my new quilt cover; it reminds me of trips to Ibiza
I love audible as I can lay back and listen to books
I love how there is so much good things that happen
Go on a journey and see what you notice, what lights you up, what you love and even where this shifts into less desirable feelings. These will be clues as to what works for you and what doesn’t.
Even during chaos, we can find inner peace and calm. Take yourself out of the busyness and just focus on your breath. Do this daily and you may find you open yourself to the signs of a new emerging world. Create some space and let the universe fill it in with all your heart desires. Let go of outcomes and work on at least one small thing a day. Know that you can improve the way you feel think and influence your life.
Let me know if this resonates, or you try something and equally see its impact or that you are inspired to add one small thing daily to feel better about yourself and your life
Maybe you can write a list for all that you appreciate. Maybe you can do one small thing that will lead you to a goal. If you are struggling with this read the 5 second rule. This really helped me kick start myself on days I wanted to pull the covers over my head.
The Five Second Rule By Mel Robbins
You can even hear Mel Robbins on Ted Talks