Last year I embarked on Project 365 Days of Presence… and it was an incredible experience to constantly focus on being fully present and engaged with people and hold myself accountable to that goal.
I learned many lessons, read some great books on the topic, and most of all-I experienced more than I would have if I wasn’t practicing this skill.
I won’t claim to have mastered the art of “presence” by any means… But practicing being intentional with where I am in life naturally led me to my new project: Gratitude.
This past year, I experienced many milestones: making it to 3 years of motherhood with no major injuries and all lives still intact, graduating with my Master’s degree, building up my own business, running a half marathon, and more.
With all these milestones comes major transitions and its very easy to start focusing on all the things that I want.
I want to find a career.
I want a home of my own.
I want my business to start booming.
I want financial security.
I want to start establishing myself independently in this life.
I want my own room.
I want to be able to pay for my own things.
I want to get married.
I want to have more kids.
I want, I want, I want.
After the past few years of constantly pushing myself to reach my goals and the exhaustion and grind of it all, it’s easy to now sit back and think of more things that I want.
But what I really need-is to be thankful.
Thankful for all that I have done and all the people who have made that possible. Thankful for this time of transition into new chapters of my life. Thankful for what’s happening today. (Still some themes of “presence” lingering)
During my internship, I helped with a lunch that the counselors and admin put on for the staff. I started looking up “counselory” quotes on gratitude and thankfulness to help decorate the room and show appreciation for the staff. While I was looking up things, I then found dozens and dozens of studies on how practicing gratitude enhances your life and benefits your health… Duh.
This should be obvious to us, but I was fascinated by the studies and all the ways that simply practicing gratitude can reduce stress and anxiety, makes you more likable, helps you relax, decreases materialism, increases happiness, increases the morale of others around you, helps you sleep better, etc
Being grateful really is a simple practice that can make your life better in almost every area.
So during this transitional time in my life when I’m naturally more grumpy and needy, in going to look for all the wonderful things I can be grateful for instead.
Like my daughter’s laughter, the opportunity to have a hobby as my job, the special time I have to share a room with my daughter, no major bills and a time to really save up, and being surrounded by the people that love me most.