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Happy Friday to all -

Thank you, Thanks, Gracias, Merci Beaucoup, Grazie, Do Jeh, Danke Sehr, Todo, Mahalo, Efharisto, are all ways that some might show their appreciation for a kind gesture. How do you show your appreciation? This week I thought we could discuss the importance of showing appreciation. People might say that they do a good job when it comes to showing others appreciation, however I wonder if those same individuals are as good at showing themselves gratitude. Often times we forget to show ourselves the appreciation we deserve and forget to do little things each day to recognize what we’ve accomplished and it can start to affect your health.

One definition of appreciation is, “Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”. This definition gave me a moment of pause because I wondered how many people out there actually take the time to show themselves appreciation and gratitude on a daily basis.

Most would say that by performing acts of kindness, it brings them joy. I absolutely agree that selfless acts of kindness for others can cause euphoric sensations, however doing those same selfless acts of kindness for yourself can bring about the same euphoric feelings. I am an advocate for kindness, in all forms, and believe that when we do things for ourselves to improve our mood, our stress level, or our outlook on life, it has a trickle-down effect that creates positive change in ourselves and those around us.

How then can we make it a point to perform acts of kindness for ourselves? For those of you who might not be accustomed to doing nice things for yourself you might be left wondering where to start. Below I have listed out five different ways to start a healthy routine of gratitude:

  • Breathe – Yes, you read that correctly, sometimes the very easiest things can be the very best for you. Make it a point to take a break a few times throughout your day and concentrate on your breathing. Often times in stressful situations, the act of mindfully breathing can help alleviate some of the associated stress and actually calm your mind. At the beginning of your day tomorrow, try sitting still for five minutes and concentrate on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Music – Many people will tell you that they can lose themselves in the rhythmic arms of their favorite song. Often times, the mere sound of the first few beats of a song can send them back in time, make them laugh, bring a tear to their eye, or transform them into the best air guitarist in the room! The idea that music can be therapeutic and transforming is not a new thought, so next time you would like to show yourself some appreciation, put on your favorite song and sing out or pick up your air guitar and shred on!
  • Exercise – Although some can get bogged down with the latest fad in an exercise regime, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough exercise. After the end of a long day, can you take an hour out of your evening to take a nice walk? If you have any four-legged friends I am sure that they would appreciate the walk as well. While you are taking that nice long walk, make sure to be in moment and watch the sunset or the rise of the moon. We can forget to look around us and appreciate the beauty of the sky, trees in bloom, aromatic flowers, or even a beautifully decorated home in our neighborhood.
  • Hobbies – Some may feel that they are not able to take up any hobbies because they feel as though they are not creative or coordinated. The idea of finding a hobby however, is to search out something that you enjoy. When it comes to hobbies, we do not have to do it perfectly however, we should have fun while doing it. YouTube is great for showing you how to crochet the most amazing blankets, hodgepodge art onto a tile, or a picture to wood. Whatever you might be interested in trying as a new hobby, there is a wealth of places you can go in order to obtain some direction. The bottom line to it all, whatever you choose, have fun and enjoy!
  • Journaling – This is a great way to show yourself appreciation! Take a few moments each day and write down the positive things that happened that day. The idea is to focus on the positive aspects of your life because its all too easy to focus on the negative. If you are having a hard time starting a list of things to be appreciative of, start small. Did you get to work on time today? Did you have a healthy breakfast or lunch? Did you take a break at some point during the day to focus on some breathing? Did you smile at a co-worker in the hall? As your journaling continues you will find it becomes easier to come up with things you did that warrant appreciation.

Simple gestures of appreciation or gratitude can often times happen without us even giving it a second thought. Most acts of kindness that we perform on a daily basis actually happen with little to no thought. When we open the door for someone entering or leaving a building, say thank you to the fast food employee who hands you your food, compliment someone’s outfit at work, allow someone to go before you in a line, or send a thank you note, we’re expressing kindness and gratitude. Whatever way you say thank you or show appreciation to others around you, make sure that you are taking the time everyday to show yourself gratitude. With practice, you’ll get to a point that it’s not hard and it will become second nature. Whether you are spending time exercising, journaling, listening to music, breathing, or learning a new hobby, make it a point to tell yourself; Efharisto, Gracias, Merci Beaucoup, Grazie, Do Jeh, Danke Sehr, Todo, Mahalo, Thank you!

Until next week; In Everything you do – CARE