Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Gratitude, Simplified

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When people think about gratitude, they may think about extremes - I've heard about people being grateful for horrible experiences they've gone through, from being robbed to being hurt, and more. I feel like this may freak people out - how do you even get to that point? What steps do you take to get that faraway point?

To me, what makes a big difference is being thankful about the little things. Being thankful for going to school, no matter how little sleep I got the night before, because it means I live in a democratic country that allows women to get an education, and that my family and I can afford that schooling.

Being thankful for the (ridiculously) cold Canadian winters because it means that climate change hasn't  completely overtaken our environment and that there's still time to help the nature around us.

Being thankful for huge family dinners, no matter how crazy annoying they can be, because it means that I have a family to begin with.

Being thankful for the absolute basics in life can really help with your everyday happiness - all this gratitude leads me to realizing - girl, you're alive, go live and have fun!
Gratitude just makes me a happier person because I'm aware of all of the blessings in my life.


My main way of reminding myself of all the simple joys in life: a gratitude journal! I usually try and write at least 5 things I'm grateful for everyday, though I often write more than that. This journal is truly proof of my "be grateful for everything you have from the roof over your head to air you breathe" philosophy - I've literally written entries saying "I'm thankful for feeling sore after that workout because it means I have legs", alongside the more complicated ones, such as being grateful for an exchange with someone, or for a good mark in school, etc...

I usually like to write it at night, right before bed (and usually in bed). Why? I personally believe that the mood you're in before you go to bed really impacts your life. I'm not saying that, if you're angry, for example, you should try and diminish those feelings in order to get better sleep - that will just make you feel frustrated - but it always helps to go to bed in a calm and thankful mood, whether that's through writing gratitude lists, journaling, or meditating.
 Writing a gratitude list first thing in the morning can also be super helpful, though - it starts your day off on the right foot! :)

I especially love this gratitude journal from Etsy - it's so cute! Just type in "gratitude journal" on that site and you'll get tons of options if you want to use something more than a plain notebook.

I also LOVE this Printable Pocket Goddess Gratitude Diary from Leonie Dawson (am I the only one who still accidentally calls her Goddess Leonie? It's what she's categorized under in my ipod, haha.) It's a little journal that's been hand drawn by her, that doesn't need too many pages too print - it's a mini diary! It's absolutely adorable, and so much fun to fill out - I have a few times already!



What am I thankful for today?

1 - I'm thankful for the fact that the weather has gotten ever so slightly warmer today. You know it's been cold when you're happy about it being -10 celsius.

2 - I'm thankful for the big flood that happened around my campus yesterday. Obviously it hasn't been ideal - it will probably cost loads to repair, and although our campus is really huge and the flood only really badly impacted 2 buildings, the entire university is on a hill, which made it easy for the surge of water to easily impact other buildings and school entrances. However. I've heard amazing stories of people helping each other out and bonding over the fact that they got soaked falling into a river with a downward current while trying to get from one side of campus to the other, and I had lots of fun with my own friends trying to navigate the way to our classrooms what with a lot of streets being blocked. It's the experiences you remember, not the fact that you were late to class because of having to take detours to get there!

3 - I'm grateful for my 2 cats. As much as I hate the fact that they always get this supersonic surge of energy around 10pm every night, they're absolutely adorable and I don't know what I'd do without them - they've really helped take the edge of sorrow off ever since my last cat died very early in her life in October.

4 - I'm thankful for the delicious vegan grilled cheese I had for dinner! Tofutti cheese slices (I love living in a Jewish community where fake cheeses are more common because we don't mix meat and dairy), baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, and nutritional yeast, all in the sandwich maker. YUM!

5 - I'm thankful for all the cafes around and near my campus - perfect for last-minute lunch dates with friends when classes are cancelled!

6 - Mandatory class discussion groups being cancelled because one of them was supposed to happen in a flooded building, giving me 1.5hrs more to study, hang out with friends, exercise, etc...

7 - Liking getting an education enough to feel kind of bad about being happy that a class is cancelled for tomorrow (or today, Wednesday, when you're reading this).

8 - I'm thankful for the red lipstick I like to wear pretty much every day - I feel so sassy, sexy, and glamorous in it!

9 - I'm thankful for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice through...a vlog! And a professional one, too - there are actors and scripts and all that, it's not just a school project. It's amazing and hilarious and I'm not ashamed to say I'm a fangirl and squeal when new episodes come out on Mondays and Thursdays. Even my friends who don't like Jane Austen or P&P love this webseries! You can start with the first episode here (2nd link opens directly to a video, don't open it in the middle of class ;). )

What are you thankful for today? Do you have any specific strategies to make yourself feel more gratitude and therefore make yourself happier? I'd love to hear from you! :)

XO,
Laura

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Thrive.

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Thrive.

What does that mean, exactly? Sure, according to the dictionary it means something like being prosperous, fortunate, or successful. But it's more than that. It's taking a situation and not only adapting to it, but also growing from your experiences in that scenario.

It means taking a previously crummy experience - say, health problems - and learning from them, and becoming a better person because of what you've learned from those issues.

It's almost like "step two" in your journey; the first step was surviving in a new situation, but when you're ready to start step two - when you're over and sick of step one - you can shed your survival mode, relax your shoulders and roll them back, and take a deep (and I mean really deep) breath in.
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This is why "thrive" is my word for 2013. Let's just say 2012 was...meh. (Yes, that's a word. Trust me.) I want to zoom in on my health issues not only in 2013, but forever. That's why I started this blog: to keep myself accountable to my "word of 2013". 2012 was filled with quite a few health problems, and I made the healthy changes I made in order to survive with them - not in a life-or-death way, of course not, but I admit I was pretty scared. Now, as I start 2013, I'm a few pounds lighter, and I feel infinitely better ever since starting an almost 100% (let's say 85%) vegan and clean/whole diet.

Now, however, I feel the ability to play with my eating habits a little more, but more than that, playing with my day-to-day habits a little more - such as meditating first thing in the morning and right before going to bed, manifesting, making vision boards, and more.

That doesn't just sound like surviving, does it? ;)

So, world: welcome to the blog!
 Do you have a "word" for 2013? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you!

Want to learn more about me in the meantime? Check out my About Me page! :)

XO,
Laura