Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
It is making a conscious effort to express your appreciation for what you have as well as the people in your life and why they are important to you.
Gratitude generates feelings of goodness, warmth and positivity; feelings that fill up your heart & soul and radiates out to others as well.
Sometimes, however, when life is challenging it can be hard to focus on the positive and recognize what you are truly grateful for.
So, how do you start practicing gratitude?
It starts with paying attention and noticing the goodness in life.
“Every day may not be good,
Start a gratitude jar. Find a pretty jar and place it in a special spot where you can see it and be reminded of what the jar holds. Cut strips of paper and place them and a pen with the jar (I like to use pretty scrapbook paper, but anything works … even a piece of an envelope). Everyday write something that you are grateful for on a paper and place it in the jar. You may find this hard at first, but it gets easier I promise (when I first started this practice, I was really thankful for tea hahaha). At the end of each month, or at the end of the year, empty the jar and read through all of your notes.
Keep a journal or calendar where you can note the big or little joys of daily life. There are even photo journal apps where you can have a mix of photos and words to remember the things that you are grateful for, sometimes a picture speaks louder than your words ever can.
Try practicing “3 good things”. At the end of every day, before you go to bed, write down 3 good things that happened that day. Doing this can put you in a more positive headspace and reduce your stress right before bed and should lead to a better nights sleep.
Write thank you notes. We tend not to actually express how grateful we are to the people in our lives. This practice serves 2 purposes … it fills your heart as you write to someone important to you and it warms the heart of the recipient as well to get your expression of gratitude and love. Plus, who doesn’t love getting good mail? And you never know how powerful it can be to tell someone they are doing a good job or that you appreciate what they do. Your words will probably hit them just when they need it most.
Why should you practice gratitude?
There are actual health benefits to practicing gratitude, but like anything it takes consistency (not perfection) to feel the benefits.
Benefits of Gratitude
One final note …
Remember, like everything in life, practicing gratitude is not about perfection. No one cares if you only sit down once this week to practice or if all you were grateful for today was a cup of tea. This practice is just for you.
Find the type of practice that resonated most with you and then mix it up every once in a while.
Expand from “I am grateful for …..” to “I am grateful for ….. because …..” This can add a world of enlightenment for you and help you to search your soul to figure out what really does make you happy and grateful.
So, what are you grateful for today?
Understanding Epsom Salt Baths
I tell people all the time, at the clinic, to do an Epsom salt bath after a massage, heavy workout or physical activity. But I never really take the time to explain why it's a good idea, so here we go.
Why Epsom salts?
Epsom salts are made up of the minerals magnesium and sulfate, hence it’s chemical name magnesium sulfate.
Magnesium plays a very important role in the human body. It helps to regulate more than 300 enzymes that are responsible for everything from muscle control and electrical impulses to energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.
More specifically magnesium eases stress and improves sleep and concentration; helps muscles and nerves function properly; helps prevent artery hardening and blood clots; helps body use insulin more effective; reduces inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps; and improves oxygen use.
Sulfate is also an important mineral in the body. It is necessary for many biological processes, to help flush toxins from the body and to help form proteins in brain tissue and joints.
How do Epsom salt baths work to ease muscle aches?
The theory is that the water breaks Epsom salts down into it's two chemical components, magnesium and sulfate, then both get absorbed through your skin.
The absorbed magnesium could help trigger your muscles to relax and aid in removal of toxins that can make you sore and stiff. Most people find they feel extra relaxed and sleep really well after an Epsom salt bath as well.
It is an excellent idea to have an Epsom salt bath in the evening after you have had a massage because it helps to further relax your muscles and clear out and toxins released as a result of your massage that could make you stiff or sore.
What is the best way to enjoy an Epsom salt bath?
Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to warm/hot water in a standard-sized bathtub (double the Epsom salt for an oversized tub), 3 times a week, soaking for at least 12 minutes.
Make sure to have a glass of cool water handy as well as a cool cloth in case you over heat.
After soaking, make sure to rinse off. This will remove any toxins from the surface of your skin that the Epsom salts may have pulled out. It is suggested, that turning the hot water down until you’re using primarily warm/cool water, rinsing legs first, then arms, then back, then chest, and lastly head, neck, shoulders and soles of the feet, will give the maximum benefits after your soak.
Also, make sure to drink plenty of water during and after an Epsom salt bath.
So lay back, relax and soak up the benefits!
Note: If you have a heart condition, are pregnant or preparing the bath for a child make sure to lower the temperature of the bath and use slightly less Epsom salts. It is also important to remember that an Epsom salt bath must be done without using soap, adding any bath solutions or oils, as these substances will alter the chemistry of the water and affect the beneficial properties of the Epsom salts.
What is holistic living?
Ultimately, holistic living is living a life that nourishes your body, mind and soul.
It also recognizes that your body, mind and soul are completely interconnected, that it is impossible to separate one from the others, and that each can directly affect the others.
For example, if you are not getting enough quality sleep (body), your concentration will probably be shot (mind), and you won’t have the energy to do all the things you love (soul).
So how do you shift towards holistic living?
I have compiled some ideas to get you thinking.
I am by no means an expert, but these are ideas that I have come across in my own journey towards living a holistic life.
Don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated by the list, holistic living is not one size fits all, nor is it about perfection. It is about making intentional choices and shifting your focus towards what nourishes you body, mind and soul.
You may actually notice that most of the suggestions can actually nourish more than just your body, mind or soul individually.
Many nourish two of the categories or, if you are lucky, all three. Start with the one that feels right for you and explore from there.
May you be nourished body, mind and soul.
What other ideas do you have?