As the year comes to a close it is a good time to reflect back on goals and intentions I had set back in January. Often these reflections are uplifting and joyful but I also notice how sometimes my mind starts to focus on the negative. What didn’t I do that I had hoped to accomplish. What is missing from my life?
Unfortunately, I can get so caught up in the negative spin that I can lose sleep. However, I can stop the tornado of despair by focusing on the good.
“When we reflect on what we have to be grateful for we can flip the long told (and sometimes believed) mental script of deficiency to a narrative of fullness. Instead of allowing anxiety to flood your body, connect to gratitude and allow fear to leave your body.”
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz
My Gratitude List
So rather than focusing on what I hadn’t accomplished last year or what was missing from my life I decided to devote my attention to a gratitude practice. Starting simple I thought about my soft pajamas and how comfortable I felt. This reminded me of my favorite tea which brings me a similar feeling of joy. Well, the practice took off from here.
Today I’ve written up my personal gratitude list, am sharing it here, and encourage you to do the same. I realize that I have so much to be grateful for. I hope that you do too.
I am Thankful For…
Simple Things: I am thankful for my favorite pajamas, the tea that I love to drink, and my journal. Thank you for tart apples, milk chocolate, snowflakes, seashells, and flowers. Thank you for how these small details come together like the pieces of puzzle and fit together in a whole picture of my life making me uniquely me.
My Body: I am grateful for my breath, movement, and the joy of sensing and feeling. Thank you arms for giving me the strength to hug and legs for carrying my up mountains. I am grateful for eating, tasting, and digesting foods that help me live a healthy life. Thank you to my heart for keeping me connected to the rhythm of life. I am grateful to be alive.
Family and Friends: Thank you for standing by me, believing in me, making me laugh, and keeping me real. You are my home base and keep me connected to the child inside me. Thank you for teaching me how to be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend. Thank you for knowing me so well so that when I forget you are there to remind me.
The Healers: I am grateful for the healers. For those that have heard my fears, witnessed my tears, and helped me to unlock uncharted territories of my soul. Thank you for what you offer me and to all that you help in the world. Thank you for your commitment to light, love, and truth.
My Clients: I am thankful to all of you have entrusted your hearts to my care. Thank you for allowing me to listen, to witness your tears, to support your rage, and to honor your terror. Thank you for your courage to go to the raw and vulnerable places. Thank you for being my teachers and helping me grow as well.
Yoga: I am grateful that I can count on this daily practice. Thank you to all who have guided my practice over the years and helped me to become stronger and more flexible. Thank you to my trusted mat that has received my sweat, my intentions, and my tears. Thank you for the opportunity to teach this form that I love, so that I may pay the gift forward.
Art, Theater, and Music: I am grateful for all the moments that music, theater, and art have transported my soul. Thank you for the ways that you help me process grief, like when my choir sang the Braham’s the night after the Paris attacks. Thank you for connecting me to my community. Thank you for reminding me of the bigger picture.
Our Earth: I am grateful for this planet we live on; for the verdant green meadows, thick pine forests, and wildflowers. Thank you for oceans, rivers, waterfalls, and rain; your cycles of birth, death, and renewal are important lessons. Thank you for teaching the art of giving. May we remember how important it is to take care of you.
You: I am thankful to all of you who read my posts, offer your comments, and say that you can relate in some way. Thank you to those of you who have connected via the web and Facebook; for those of you who reside all over the world from Australia to Brazil, Great Britain to Canada; and of course to all of you closer to home. Each posting has some risk and vulnerability attached; therefore, I appreciate your encouragement of my writing. You bring everything full circle so thank you for being on the receiving end of what I offer.
- Creative New Year’s Resolutions
- My Top 40 Resilience Practices
- Art and Soul in Community Grief Rituals
About Dr. Arielle Schwartz
Dr. Arielle Schwartz is a licensed clinical psychologist, wife, and mother in Boulder, CO. She offers trainings for therapists, maintains a private practice, and has passions for the outdoors, yoga, and writing. Dr. Schwartz is the author of The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole (Fall, 2016). She is the developer of Resilience-Informed Therapy which applies research on trauma recovery to form a strength-based, trauma treatment model that includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), somatic (body-centered) psychology and time-tested relational psychotherapy. Like Dr. Arielle Schwartz on Facebook, follow her on Linkedin and sign up for email updates to stay up to date with all her posts.