Mantras for Monday

Mantras for Mondays: I am grateful for what I have.

What does this mantra mean to mean?


R: For me this mantra is about recognizing all that I have accomplished and all of the wonderful aspects of my life.  I find that I often dwell on the negatives or what I am not able to accomplish, but that when I do focus on all that is positive, I am subsequently a happier person.  For me, some of the biggest negative factors that I focus on are injuries and physical limitations, feeling like I haven’t accomplished everything I want (which can be small as in within a weekend, or large as in not having reached my educational aspiration), and not having enough friends.  I can think about how frustrating it is not to be able to run, or I can think of how grateful I am for being able to practice yoga, take spin classes and weight lift.  I can worry about not finding the time to workout twice this weekend like I had intended, or I can feel grateful for going on a seven mile hike in a beautiful part of Hawaii yesterday.  I can worry about not having met enough new friends since moving to Hawaii, or I can feel grateful about the few friendships that I am developing and the time spent with my new husband.  Changing the inner story is the way to change how I feel about my life.


M: This week’s mantra is about focusing on the positive aspects of my life rather than comparing myself and my accomplishments to others and feeling down as a result. With the interconnectivity of social media, I am inundated with updates on all of the exciting milestones my friends and acquaintances have achieved. Lately, it feels like my Facebook newsfeed is a highlight reel of weddings and babies. It’s really hard for me to see these pictures and not feel frustrated and jealous. Being single can be tough when it seems like everyone around you is madly in love and building a family. This mantra will help me to combat these feelings as it guides me to try and focus on the awesome aspects of my life. I may not have a husband, but I live  in a beautiful city with the opportunity to explore and develop on my own. In the past few years, I’ve learned so much about myself and have gained a deep sense of confidence in my ability to tackle the world on my own. I will focus my energy on gratitude for all that I have accomplished and gained in this time.


What will be the challenge?


R: As with many of these mantras, the challenge is that the negative self talk has already become habit.  Changing the habit starts with noticing when the self talk happens and not becoming critical about it, but simply taking a moment to breath and reflect on what I tell myself. It will be difficult to remember to do this, but as with other weeks, with the mantra in my mind I will have a greater reminder to focus on this positive change.


M: A big challenge for me is letting go of feeling like I “should” be a certain way and instead allow myself to appreciate my own journey. I feel like there is a timeline that I am supposed to follow; we are supposed to go to college and get our degree, find a good job, get married, buy a house, and start a family, and I feel like I’ve wandered off of this path. It’s challenging for me to shake the notion that the traditional timeline is good and any other trajectory is bad. It can be difficult to feel gratitude when I am wrapped up in this self-shaming thought process.


How will I stay positive and focused?


R: While it is great to replace the negative messages with positive reminders of what I am grateful for, I also intend to start a new daily practice.  I spend a lot of time each day doing mundane activities- commuting to work, washing dishes, completing mindless cardio on the elliptical, folding laundry, etc.  While completing these tasks, I am committed to spending at least 5 minutes reflecting on what I am grateful for in my own life.  Usually when I have done this in the past I simply start making a list of many different things in my mind.  This time I want to spend each session focused on one thing that I am grateful for and really think about how I have come to have/be/do that thing and what it means in my life.

M: This week I will try to reshape how I respond to social media. When I see someone else’s accomplishments or am paging through baby pics, I will take a moment to try and reflect on a positive aspect of my life and feel gratitude for that. I feel like these are the moments that trigger my shame and frustration, so it will help me to focus on practicing gratitude instead.

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