I've seen many people hashtag #100daysofgratitude and I'm honestly not sure if they're going for a whole 100 days. I'm assuming so, and I'd like to join them. Guess I'll have to try and hashtag things... I'll be posting on Instagram (@lindsayselfnd) for the first time ever so come along for the ride!
I think we really should have 365 days of gratitude each year. I speak with many of my patients about stopping for a moment each day and just remembering to breathe. Take a really deep breath and let it out. You'd be amazed at how strange that feels after breathing so shallowly all day.
A bit of physiology:
When we're stressed out, we get so caught up in what we've done, what we have to do, what's going to happen if/when we don't get it done, and so on, that we stop paying attention to where we are and what we have. For many, this is the daily grind and for others this is what 3am looks like. Sound familiar?
Our nervous systems have two modes: sympathetic (fight or flight) and our parasympathetic (rest and digest). Our parasympathetic is always running in the background but sometimes it doesn't get the attention it needs. Our sympathetic systems are designed to run away from lions, tigers, and bear, but these days we react similarly to our to-do lists, deadlines, and that guy that cut you off in traffic or didn't hold the elevator. When we run in this mode for too long, problems happen.
This leads to our rest being off causing insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns or our digestion being off causing, most commonly, IBS, excessive bloating, and heartburn. The last thing your body needs to do when it's in life-saving mode is make a healthy-looking poop. Priorities, people. In addition, many research studies show gratitude to be beneficial for those with chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, depression, anxiety, and many other conditions.
How amazing is that? And guess what?
It's completely free.
And the challenge:
I'm just as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in my day forgetting to breathe, eating too quickly, and forgetting to pee. I'm going to slow down and be grateful for at least one thing each day.
It's the long weekend so I'm sure many of you are grateful for cottages, BBQs, and campfire. Today, I'm grateful for living in such a fantastic city.
I challenge myself... a lot.