I have learned in my life that seeking to improve gratitude helps me to stay grounded and move forward at the same time. That may sound silly, but it is very true. The mistake I used to make when trying to practice gratitude was to be grateful for things like, my car, house, vacations, or anything I could buy. The same is true for being thankful for people like my wife, daughters, and friends. The mistake here is, I was thinking about the thing or person and not how they made me feel. It is the feeling of gratitude that brings us peace, not the thing or person themselves.
Below are my 5 ways to improve gratitude
Get Comfortable with You
I used to feel undeserving of having nice things and uncomfortable when other people either gave me gifts or did nice things. I learned this from my parents as they felt the same as I did. Both of my parents love to give gifts and do good things for friends and family, but hated to receive gifts or have anyone do something nice for them. By watching their reactions, I realized they had taught me the same thing. I bet their parents taught them as well. Feeling like I deserve all the good things I get in life allows the universe to continue to bring me more. The other side of that coin is, when I refused to take gifts from other people, I was depriving them of that good feeling also. The more I give, the more I get back, but this only works when you feel great about being on either side
This confuses some people as it seems more physical than emotional. Our muscles are far more emotional than physical. We do not understand this as we are only taught about the physical side. When you have negative thoughts, worry, or stress, the muscles will tighten due to the thoughts. The body moves based on the feelings the person has. When you improve gratitude even your muscles respond.
Watch people walking by and you can tell what kind of mood they are in based on the way they walk. A hurried person is usually stressed, late, or upset about getting somewhere. A slow person can be depressed, scared, or dreading being somewhere. In each of these scenarios, the person changes the way they move based on thoughts in their head.
Learning to stretch correctly can change all that. 95% of people that do try to stretch, stretch incorrectly, and do not get the benefits of it.
Stretching is more mental than physical. You must relax the brain before you can relax the muscle. If you try to force a pose that your brain is not sure you can do, it will tighten the muscle to prevent an injury. Once the brain thinks you can do it, there will be no pain at all because the brain is no longer afraid.
Stretching is a daily thing. Think of your pet. They stretch every day and you should too. Remember to breathe out, relax, and let go of the emotions to lengthen the muscles. Stretching is not a competition, the more you relax and let go, the closer you will get to the full range of motion, Do not worry about how far you go when you start.
Eat Better Food
Notice I didn’t say healthier food. The reason I did not is, what seems healthy to you, may be feel healthy to me. Yes, there are studies that talk about what is healthy or not, but for every study out there are others that deny it. It is frustrating!
You know that a salad without the typical dressings are better than a candy bar. However, if you put a high calorie dressing on top, the benefits are about the same as the candy bar. This is easy, however simple carbs are not so easy. Simple carbs are the breads, pasta, baked goods, white potatoes, or white rice. These all convert to glucose, or sugar, like candy when they enter our blood stream.
The glucose causes the mid-afternoon crashes we are all familiar with. We eat a sandwich or bowl of pasta for lunch and by 3 pm we feel sleepy and tired, so we eat more or drink caffeine to pump us up again. We are going from sugar high to sugar high while still believing we are eating healthy. When I learned this, I lost 105 lbs in 18 months. Learning about how food converts in our bodies versus calories in, calories out mentality will improve your fat-burning ability and cause you to lose weight. You can improve gratitude through this mindful aproach to eating.
Love as If You Have Never Been Hurt
Everyone has been hurt or disappointed by someone they loved. The key here is not to transfer that hurt onto the next person you want to love and be loved back.
In high school I had a basketball coach that said to us, “We lost tonight and it hurts. Let that last no more than 24 hours because you have another game in 2 days. If you carry this loss into the next game you will lose again, not because the other team is better than you, you were thinking about the last team that beat you.”
Love works the same way. No matter how great the new person is, you can screw up the new relationship replaying the old game.
Dance as If No One is Watching
This one was a tough for me. My wife has helped me get over my fear. I loved to dance as a teen and I was good at it. As I aged, I remember other men laughing when I danced. I thought they were laughing at me. What I have learned is they were laughing out of fear someone would want to dance with them or they felt uncomfortable standing there as I was dancing, and they were left out.
Dance is a freeing expression of emotion. When I am dancing, I can focus on my partner and feel like we are the only people in the room. I can let go of any negative emotions and feel the love of my partner. You can feel and see the beauty of dance and that is sure to improve gratitude.
Men tend to have a more difficult time with dancing only because other men who are too afraid laugh or ridicule out of fear themselves of dancing and this can make a man feel self-conscious. Walk through the fear of being laughed at and free yourself. Not only will you have multiple dance partners as women love to dance, but your male friends will envy you as they must sit and watch you have a great time.
Most of us live our life in fear because we need to fit in. We worried about being different. The beauty of every human being is we are different and that is what makes us special. Each of us a gift to give to the world and we must give it.
When you seek to improve gratitude day by day there is the feeling of gratitude for how the people and things make you feel, not how much you own or what you own. When you can do that, life becomes more fun and easier to succeed.
In general you will improve gratitude as you become healthier. You can learn more by visiting my YouTube channel and subscribing to receive updates.
About The Muscle Repair Shop
Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday. Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs. Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique.
Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allows clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.
We’re happy to offer you a complimentary 30-min virtual consultation so you can experience this for yourself. Schedule your introduction to Stretch n Release now.