HOW FITNESS CAN MAGNIFY GRATTITUDE
& HOW GRATITUDE CAN AMPLIFY FITNESS
Now more than ever, there has been a recent surge of online and published content around gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most prevalent and important lessons that you can learn. And whilst it's a very positive thing that many of us have become increasingly aware and grateful for what we have, I noticed a common misinterpretation that I fell into, which is some people placing daily gratitude in external factors, and tending to never cultivate gratitude for their physical body or their own self-worth. My fitness journey has helped me to understand that my body is something to be grateful for, not just something that needed to be 'fixed'.
HOW GRATITUDE CAN AMPLIFY FITNESS
Standards and perceptions of beauty are subjective. Fit and healthy looks different on everybody and every BODY. If you seek validation, worth or happiness in yourself or others through the pursuit of physical aesthetics, you will likely never get there.
Our drivers for fitness should be primarily rooted in our OWN gratitude for our bodies and a desire to care for ourselves and our health - mentally, emotionally and physically. Fitness is more than physical and you are more than your body!
(Side note: it's not wrong to have and work for physical goals so long as we go about them in healthy ways ~ but physical goals should NOT be where we place our worth).
If your fitness goals are based on gratitude and positivity instead of being based on achieving a particular appearance, this is very powerful.
You can move your body as a gratitude practice, as an expression of how grateful you are for it. As you do this, you'll strive towards more: being stronger, fitter, more powerful, performing better. It's not about what you can't do though, it's about what you can do that helps you get further.
Rather than thinking, “I have to work out because I don’t have a flat stomach”, you can frame this as “I have the opportunity to work out because I have a body that is able to work out right now”.
You can say “I am going to give myself more water so that I feel better” or “I am going to give myself more vegetables so that I have more nutrients for my body to perform better”, or “I am going to give myself endorphins by doing this workout”.
Fitness magnifies gratitude for your body
As you start to take care for your body through exercise, you start to understand that your body is worth taking care of. As you discover the different things that your body can do, you start to become more aware and more grateful for the ways that your physical body can move and it instils that appreciation for the home in your body that you have.
When you wake up feeling down on yourself, you might choose to let negative thoughts cloud your mind. Or, you can choose to acknowledge how you are feeling, and then put gratitude first. You have a body, you can exercise. If you can't exercise, you can walk. If you cant walk, you can breathe.
At this point, the question isn't about whether you are feeling negative or positive, it's about which thoughts will govern your actions. You can deploy gratitude to overcome any negative thoughts, change your mindset and help you to get out of a negative place.
being grateful doesn't mean ignoring the negative
It isn't impossible to exclude the negative from your life, from your mind or from the world. We are surrounded, externally and internally, by both positive and negative things. Just because you cultivate an attitude of gratitude does not mean that you are naive to all of the hardships of life.
You are going to have moments when you are upset, angry or down on yourself. Gratitude is about understanding that you get to choose which feelings you govern your actions with.
You can choose to use gratitude as the lens through which you look at your situation. A better attitude is only a mindset shift away and your situation is what you make of it. Yes, what happens to you affects your life, but how you respond to what happens is so much more important and will define what your experience of life is.
gratitude can re-shape your thoughts
When you put the time and energy into being grateful for your physical body, you mitigate the time to tear it apart. When you are feeling down on yourself, you can choose to indulge in that self-depreciation, or you can employ gratitude to help you to shift your mindset.
You can choose to cultivate gratitude in your life
You don’t have to be a born optimist to have a gratitude practice. You can choose to cultivate this practice to change your own mindset. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes.
Gratitude is the cure for comparison, jealousy, self-pity, self-doubt, and this is super powerful. I know that it is not easy. It takes practice and it takes work to start thinking in these ways. Training your mind to be more grateful will allow you to cope with all of the very human and heavy and meaningful feelings that come up in life.
Over time that shift will happen. It is the intention that is important.
If you are intentional enough, if you stick with it and work hard at it, you can change your mindset. Over time, those moments of self-destructing, doubt or being down on yourself become the exception and gratitude becomes the rule. This is a far more beautiful, happy and healthy way to live.
When we nurture positivity and choose gratitude; we create opportunity for ourselves.