The Gratitude Experiment: It Starts With You

The Gratitude Experiment

The day before Thanksgiving, I took myself to a mid-day yoga class.

Before the class began, the teacher went around the room and had each of us say one thing we were grateful for. It was a beautiful practice that ended with many of us teary-eyed and hands on our hearts.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I went back to that same yoga studio but the vibe was a little different.

As we all laid down our mats and mingled before the class began, I could overhear grumblings about feeling bloated from eating too much, Black Friday traffic at the mall, and a general frustration with the beginning of the holiday season. The teacher began the class by addressing the busy pace and stressful feelings everyone was experiencing with a meditation and immediately dove into the yoga practice.

I was frustrated.

Where was the gratitude ritual? Where were the misty eyes and warm hearts?

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the expressions of gratitude flowed all around me. But, as soon as the sun went down and the pumpkin pie was served on Thursday, all that cozy, grateful energy morphed into frustration and grumpiness.

I don’t like to see so many amazing humans feeling so blessed and abundant one week, only to fall into the trap of frustration and lack the following week.

This is why cultivating a gratitude practice is vital during these darker, final weeks of the year. It shift your focus towards a more receptive and appreciative state as the season and our bodies slows down for winter’s rest.

So, on that note, the Gratitude Experiment is back!

I created The Gratitude Experiment as a way to reflect on the blessings of my life during a historically stressful time.

This year’s Gratitude Experiment is a four week series here on The Dabblist, and I invite you to play along with me on facebook and instagram.

Each week, I’ll give you a specific intention for simple acts that will add up to a more meaningful and joyful experience of life.

This week’s gratitude experiment is focused on YOU.

We’re starting with you, because if you aren’t feeling grateful for yourself, it’s rather difficult to show up fully for others.

I find that women, especially, tend to be natural givers. Much of time, we don’t even realize how much we give because it feels so natural to focus on others’ needs. But what ends up happening is we get exhausted, sick, or maybe even a little resentful.

We want to nurture and support the beloved people in our lives, but often at the expense of our own well-being.

This notion that taking care of ourselves first is selfish or indulgent is a frustrating fallacy in our culture. When you make sure your needs are being taken care of, you are better able to support those you love from a truly resourced place – one where you are a nourished, healthy human who is not depleted by giving to others.

When you feel good, you are better able to attend to others.

It makes so much sense and yet, for many of us, this concept feels so foreign. Which is why we are beginning The Gratitude Experiment with focusing on ourselves.

Acts of Gratitude for Yourself

The Gratitude Experiment: Starts With You

1. Write a letter to yourself

Think of the you (that’s writing) as the mama writing to her child. What does she need to read – to feel comforted, encouraged, and loved right now? What can she celebrate from the past year? What has she learned? Why should she be proud?

Write that!

If you want to take it one step further, give the letter to a friend or loved to mail to you in the future. It’s so fun to get a letter in the mail, and it’s even better to read a loving letter written from your past self.

The Gratitude Experiment: Starts With You

2. Thank your body {with a handmade body scrub!}

So often, in times of stress and overwhelm, we can take it out on our bodies with what we eat or drink, not getting enough sleep, or ignoring the signs our body is telling us she needs to feel nourished.

I invite you to create a little something to thank your bodies for taking care of you – a body scrub.

You can find a recipes on my blog for a Cinnamon Rose Sugar Scrub and a Autumn Spice Scrub.

Here’s a recipe for a Holiday Cookie Body Scrub:

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl or jar.

Now comes the next step:

Before you turn on the shower, take a few minutes to gently scrub this mixture all over your body. As you scrub, take a moment to thank your body. Thank her for taking care of you when you were sick, for having organs that keep you running, for feet that hold up your body and take you where you need to go. Let your body know how much you love her and remind her that you are here to take care of her always.

After your shower, your tub or shower floor will feel a little slippery from the oil. Take a moment to wipe it down with a wet washcloth to avoid unsuspecting husbands slipping on it the next morning (oops!).

Now’s the time to take action and share your results from the experiment!

These simple gratitude practices will add up to big transformation, but only if you actually do them.

Post a picture of yourself doing one of these practices with the hashtag #GratitudeExperiment and be sure to tag me @beccapiastrelli on Instagram. I’d love to read your insights and takeaways from these simple gratitude practices.

(Watercolor by Becca Piastrelli, Photos by Rosa Delgado)

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