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Not your standard post about gratitude

What are you thankful for? I’m not talking about the obvious right answers. I’m not talking about your family, job, health, home or your safety.

I’m talking about the little things, the guilty pleasures, the small parts of your life that you look forward to.

Your first sip of hot coffee in the morning? Clean sheets after a very long day? Your favorite lunch? That piece of candy you're about to snag from your child's Halloween stash? The moment when your child is calm and snuggly?

Whatever it is, I’d like you to consider using that moment as a time to introduce mindfulness into your life.

Mindfulness is simply being aware of the present moment, on purpose, without judgement.

It’s been shown to be linked to all the good stuff - like stress reduction, improved cognitive functioning, increased emotion regulation - and my favorite way to introduce this idea is to focus on the small pleasures in your life.

Something I hear from parents very frequently is that they hope things settle down after the next thing wraps up - after the start of school, after the holidays or after the sports tournament. But, then it doesn’t. Things keep moving along at the same busy pace, and the truth is - that’s life. It moves and moves and moves and in the midst of all the busy schedules, stress, and days of being double booked, the weeks, months and years fly by. Not only that, but the small, pleasant moments also fly by.

Focusing on smaller moments is a more manageable way to infuse calm, pleasant moments into your life.

Have you ever made coffee and before you get to drink it, it’s already cold? Or, even though you’re having your favorite lunch you eat it while catching up on emails and don’t even notice that you ate it all, without really enjoying it? Trying to be present during these moments (and focusing on what you're doing) will allow you to really enjoy these little things.

If this sounds hard, here’s a tip: Take a breath and describe what’s happening in that moment: How does it feel, smell, taste? What does it look like? Make those small moments a priority.

I know you’re thankful for your family, job, health, home and safety. Finding small moments every day to focus on is an important way to take care of yourself and can help you to feel more balanced.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Kate

p.s., if you’re interested in hearing more about the feeling of gratitude and how to teach your children about it - check out last year’s post here.

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