Tag: Mental Health

365 Days Of Gratitude

All I can hear are my thoughts. The forest surrounds me on my accent to the top of the mountain. The Earth crunches beneath each step I take, always moving forward. The days come and go. The darkness of each day leaves subtle reminders of its presence and power. I feel lost despite only just beginning. It is a story of overcoming, adventure, and gratitude.

I started writing about gratitude because of my depression. I needed to fight my inner darkness one way or another and was desperate for a solution. I saw writing as a positive outlet for my thoughts and feelings and was interested in something different. “Why not start a blog?” I thought. I needed a way to hold myself accountable, and I knew others struggle with mental battles similar to my own. The Gratitude Journal evolved over time. I connected with fellow bloggers and found a new community. I shared posts with friends and families that responded with gratitude lists of their own. I was inspired by loved ones and mentors to keep moving forward.

I took The Gratitude Journal with me everywhere I went. Each moment from the start, intertwined with lessons learned and celebrated breathsI brought The Gratitude Journal with me abroad. I traveled to places I have only dreamed of visiting. Despite my feelings of fear and uncertainty, I framed my experiences with gratitude and appreciation. I sat silently in the black sand and watched the waves leave the shores of Iceland, listening to wind howl and sing. I walked the streets of London, in tune with the beat of the city and the life of the summer sun.

I came home energized and eager to start my last year of my Master’s degree. Gratitude, still a present thought, had taken on a new form. Gratitude needed to be more than just a collective appreciation of fond memories and busy days. I had to learn to be grateful for pieces of myself that I had previously scrutinized and detested. Especially, if I was going to have gratitude for everything else. I possessed a renewed thankfulness for my past and present. Although at times I struggled to find balance in my routine and posted less consistently, the skills I learned were ever present. Gratitude is many things. I have learned gratitude starts with a breathe. It is an anchor to the present moment and a tool against the darkness. Its power grows when shared with others and can be communicated in many ways, both big and small.

Looking through old entries at quotes, stories, and pictures, I feel joy. In some ways, I never saw the end until it arrived. I was so ingrained in my process that the end result was never what was most important. I am proud I got to celebrate milestones, birthdays, adventures, and friends along the way. Although this chapter may be coming to a close, I will still carry The Gratitude Journal with me on my journey.

I stand at my mountain top, my chest rising and shrinking with each breath. The horizon gleams in the distance, each ray of sun reflecting off of rain covered trees. My vision clears and I see new peaks and valleys, invisible from the base of my climb. I stop to rest and reflect but my muscles and bones ache for the familiar and constant pain of the trail. New mountains call out, signal flares of opportunity rocket to the dusk-colored curtain above my head. The stars peek through. A chance to begin again, guided by gratitude. 

03.10.19

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My family
  2. Worldly experiences and safe travels
  3. Frank and Holly, for teaching me about my process
  4. Exercise to clear my head and help me breathe
  5. Learning to ‘be myself’
  6. Teachers, Mentors, and Coaches, that pushed me to be my best
  7. Being a part of something bigger than myself
  8. The Good Days and the Bad Days
  9. Name tags, Helen’s Tree, and late night talks on the steps of Boyden
  10. Rain, for its touch brings new life and the sound brings me sleep
  11. A peanut butter sandwich when I need it
  12. Sharing music with friends
  13. My cat Ned, for his company and intelligence
  14. Late night ice cream, always
  15. Pickup soccer on Tuesdays
  16. Chasing the sunrise before school
  17. World cup games and perfect pronunciations
  18. Comfy pillows and warm blankets
  19. Tattoo stories and reasons why
  20. Quiet talks and fall colors at Horn Pond
  21. Hope for the future
  22. Space and time to journal and recharge
  23. Home cooked meals and cooking together
  24. Shared values and going deeper
  25. The precious present, for it, is a gift

 

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

The Gratitude Journal Cover.png

 

Be Intentional (#279)

I’m guilty.

Often times I find myself going on autopilot. I have a long week or a tough day and I regress back to unhealthy habits or a general laziness.

Every day we have to make the choice about bringing positivity and gratitude into this world. I know what I’m asking isn’t easy and inspiring others is no small feat.

But let me ask you this. If not you, then who?

Be the person that makes positive change. Demonstrate gratitude in the all the ways you know how. Give what you can and find balance from there.

You are the change you wish to see in this world.

10.12.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Nice surprises
  2. Making dinner together
  3. FIFA with friends after school
  4. My sight and senses
  5. Shared anything
  6. Comfy pillows
  7. Sweatshirts and sweatpants
  8. Watching the sun go down
  9. Bryan The Lion
  10. Safe travels
  11. Ice Cream with Julie
  12. My Swift Kick Internship
  13. New books to read
  14. My cat, Ned when he wants to hang
  15. A clear night to see the stars
  16. Water parks in the summer
  17. The change in foliage
  18. My supervisor Adam
  19. Bike rides through campus
  20. Efficient meetings
  21. My family
  22. Clean water
  23. Time at the gym
  24. Life lessons
  25. This very moment

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image from Acadia in Maine

Taking A Moment (#257)

I am a thinker. I overthink, I over analyze, I lock my conscious inside my head until I feel like I’ve gone mental. The blog has been a great way for me to take a moment and relax. Sometimes talking things out allows us to verbalize what’s wrong or what’s been on our minds. Shape those thoughts with gratitude if possible and let go of the things we can’t control.

09.05.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Seeing my brother
  2. Time at the gym
  3. Mental clarity
  4. Sitting with my tea
  5. Carpools with Carley
  6. Simple times
  7. A couple deep breaths
  8. Sharing new music
  9. Tattoo stories
  10. Long drives chasing the sunset
  11. Catching up
  12. Old man basketball on Wednesdays
  13. Local bagels for breakfast
  14. Peanut butter
  15. A clear sky full of stars
  16. The sound of the train passing in the night
  17. The fan next to my bed
  18. Learning to let things go
  19. When people open up
  20. An empty email inbox
  21. Teamwork and putting in equal effort
  22. Understanding
  23. Patience
  24. My mental health tools
  25. The present

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image from the Rose Bowl parade earlier this year in Pasadena.

Reunited! (#238)

To share a bit of happy news, I got to see an old friend from BSU. I’m grateful.

08.17.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Bryan visiting me at UMass
  2. The sound of the rain
  3. Heat lightning across the sky
  4. Morning tea
  5. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!
  6. Good health
  7. Walks around the pond with my grandma
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Late night ice cream
  10. Crimson memories
  11. Learning new things
  12. Chicken fries and honey mustard
  13. Sharing music
  14. My Kennedy Peer Mentors
  15. Jess and Carley
  16. Frank and Holly
  17. Mom and Dad
  18. Bike rides through an empty campus
  19. Time at the gym
  20. New beginnings
  21. FIFA tournaments with friends
  22. Card games with my dad
  23. Getting things done
  24. The weekend to relax
  25. This very moment
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of the Dakota landscape. This picture is not my own.

    Embracing Change (#231)

    I’m grateful for gratitude. It may seem like an intuitive statement but it’s true. Gratitude is powerful and sharing it allows us to be present. Change is always happening and gratitude grounds us in the here and now.

    08.10.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. Ice cream trips with Mel
    2. Celebrating Mel’s birthday with her family
    3. Gratitude
    4. A clean and nice smelling car
    5. Night time stretches
    6. BSU Greek life
    7. Sharing music
    8. Honest people and good communication
    9. Chocolate dessert
    10. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!
    11. A beer with my dad
    12. Harry Potter movie marathon
    13. Crimson and Weygand memories
    14. Heat lightning
    15. Home cooked meals and good grilling
    16. Cuddling with my cat
    17. Recliners and movies
    18. Sitting on my balcony
    19. Fresh smelling plants and flowers
    20. My Peer Mentor staff
    21. Working at UMass
    22. Summer audiobooks and book clubs
    23. The start of the Pats season
    24. Game of Thrones Sunday’s
    25. Being exactly where I am
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image from my run with my mom. Grateful for her and our time together.

    A Summer To Remember (#224)

    That’s it.

    I have a hard time believing it’s somehow already August 3rd. I still remember jumping up and down in my room in sheer disbelief I was offered a paid internship working in England for the summer. I called my parents immediately to share the news, quickly followed by the anxiety of organizing a trip that would take advantage of every second I spent abroad. I had plans to go to Italy and Spain, I had to think big! I found my way to Iceland, I navigated big cities in the UK, and I did it all on my own. I was enjoying this new freedom I felt…and that was all stripped when I found out I filled out my VISA incorrectly. I was sent home shortly after starting my international adventure and suddenly my world began to crash before it even had a real chance to take off.

    Sitting at home was a nightmare. My positivity could only last so long. I was lucky enough to see my brother graduate high school but once the shine wore off, I couldn’t get out of my own head. I was resilient up until the point I wasn’t. I struggled to wait to return to England and when I FINALLY got back, I felt homesick and depressed. I never would have thought transitioning back would have been as hard as it was. So I buckled down, I developed a new routine for myself and made a plan. I took control of my time and I stopped making excuses for my negativity. I realized I made a mistake but there was no changing the past.

    Gratitude. Gratitude is what allowed me to be present more than anything else. In another life, I was born and raised in England. I’ve wanted to visit the UK for as long as I remember wanting to travel anywhere in the world. AND, I got to be there during the World Cup and enjoy the sport’s biggest tournament with people like me. No, my summer was far from perfect but it didn’t have to be. I learned something new about myself every day abroad and found new purpose within myself. Who knows if the same would be true if everything had gone according to plan. Change is good and it may not always feel like it but it propels us in ways we could never imagine on our road to BECOMING.

    I want to thank everyone who reached out over the summer, my readers, my followers, and my family for keeping me going. I could not have done any of this alone and my gratitude for you all deserves more than a line in a list. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I am a stronger person because of the kindness and patience that has been shown to me. Thank you. This was a summer to remember.

    08.03.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. A couple deep breaths
    2. Learning through adversity
    3. The reliant sunshine and summer warmth
    4. Exercise as a tool for my mental health
    5. Morning hikes and catching the sunrise
    6. The World Cup and sharing it with my brother
    7. My parents and their unconditional support
    8. The smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves against the dock
    9. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!

    10. Talking things out with my sister
    11. My summer audiobooks and the escape they provide
    12. My parents’ home cooking. I tried my best this summer but I miss theirs
    13. Getting organized and having a plan for the fall semester
    14. New perspective and clarity
    15. Time to journal and having a place to spill my thoughts
    16. Shared laughter and fun memories
    17. Change, and all it brings
    18. My comfy green sweatshirt as I wait through my 20-hour layover
    19. Good music to get me through my lows
    20. Walks through campus to work in the morning
    21. Routine and consistency to ease my mind
    22. Finding my way in a completely different country
    23. Sharing my daily gratitudes
    24. Life itself. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be
    25. The here and now

     

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

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    Featured image of my favorite night in England this summer. I’ve been saving this picture and between the colors of the sunset and the moon, I’ll always have this. 

    Opening Up (#218)

    I never thought this blog would become what it has. Being honest with myself and putting it out there for the internet to read was scary at first. I’m grateful for the support I’ve found online and the perspective I’ve gained from sharing gratitude. I look forward to my post every night and I truly am grateful for gratitude.

    07.28.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. Old Man Basketball on Wednesday’s
    2. Fresh fruit and vegetables
    3. Warm laundry
    4. Trips to the library with my mom
    5. Summer audiobooks
    6. Lawn games
    7. After school club practices
    8. Lazy weekends
    9. Orientation days
    10. Walks around Horn Pond
    11. Vibrant sunsets
    12. Shared laughter
    13. Change
    14. Ice cream trips with friends
    15. Feeling healthy
    16. Sleeping next to my cat
    17. Learning new things
    18. Piano lessons
    19. Local pizza
    20. Jijutsu lessons
    21. CLEAN WATER! Check out my project and see how you can get involved!
    22. Sunday Patriot games
    23. The smell of the ocean
    24. My headphones
    25. The precious present
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of one of my first sunsets at UMass. Looking forward to being back.

    Sometimes It’s The Little Things (#209)

    I would be hard pressed to find divine examples of good occurring every day in my life and that’s okay. I do my best to use gratitude to give power to the little things. People who hold the door, a hot shower in the morning, for all those things and so many more, I’m grateful.

    07.19.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. My sister
    2. Getting a little help
    3. Souvenirs from friends
    4. Fresh fruit
    5. My walk to work in the morning
    6. Crimson memories
    7. A couple deep breaths
    8. Signs from the Universe
    9. Home cooked meals
    10. Liverpool matches
    11. The warmth of the sun
    12. CLEAN WATER! And those who have donated to the cause. Thank you for helping out and getting involved.
    13. Talking things out
    14. Home movies
    15. Learning from mistakes
    16. Sharing gratitude
    17. Peanut butter and celery
    18. Games after school
    19. Visiting the rez with my friends
    20. Trailers before the movie starts
    21. Continued education
    22. Jijutsu over the summer
    23. Patient people
    24. My supervisor Adam
    25. The here and now
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of the trail behind the dam in the Scottish highlands. A cool place that I’m grateful I had time to find. Truly a little thing that led to something great.

    My Power Within (#206)

    There are a lot of people I look up to. They’re strong, self motivated, and have this innate confidence I often wish to emulate.

    I’m grateful. I didn’t always believe I had it. I didn’t always feel capable but I know over time that’s changed. My heart ache, my moments of learning, it’s helped me recognize my own power within. My power comes from my breath and is sustained with each moment of gratitude and appreciation for this life and my place within an ever changing universe.

    07.16.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. One step at a time
    2. Orientation dance parties
    3. A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. Check out my CLEAN WATER project and see how you can get involved!
    4. Punk music with Riley
    5. Time at the gym
    6. Naps after work
    7. A few deep breaths when I’m anxious
    8. The sound and smell of rain
    9. Runs through campus
    10. College football season and PAC 12 after dark
    11. My brother hearing out my crazy dreams
    12. Honesty
    13. Reclining seats at the movies
    14. My friends who encourage and support me
    15. Embracing change
    16. PC Gaming with my dad
    17. Neighborhood wiffleball games
    18. The smell of seaweed
    19. My grandparents
    20. Real instruments
    21. Spotify music and my favorite albums
    22. My fraternity
    23. Love songs and feel good music
    24. Phone calls Home
    25. The present moment

    As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

    Featured image of Loch Ness in Scotland. The day was perfect as the ferry did a small loop in the massive lake. The sun was out and the breeze felt good. The sky was blue and it was the perfect day to spot an underwater sea monster.

    200 Days Of Gratitude (#200)

    The title says it all. I believe gratitude has allowed me to be present during 2018 in ways I’ve never experienced before in my life. The blog in combination with my daily journal emphasizes everything I feel; the good, the bad, and the gratitude.With less than half a year remaining, I’ve learned some really valuable lessons from gratitude that I hope you all can apply to your own lives. Here are three that stand out to me.

    Breathing

    My background in anatomy and physiology wants to believe it’s the simple process of air entering and leaving the lungs but it’s become representative of so much more for me. Monk Nhat Hanh says in a fantastic podcast with Oprah, “Enlightenment is already there when you breath in”. Breathing for me has become the physical manifestation of patience. It calms me down and brings me clarity. The optimal mindset for finding gratitude in each moment.

    Little Moments

    I’ve learned I won’t always set personal records at the gym, I won’t be in the best mood 24/7, and the sun certainly won’t shine every day of the week. Finding little moments to appreciate and focus on helps bring new perspective to an otherwise gloomy or overwhelming day. Gratitude hasn’t eradicated my fears or completely quelled my anxiety, but it helps me see it past it at the end of the day. What this means is I get to start each and every day with a clean slate and a good attitude. Gratitude does that.

    Accepting Change

    This might be the biggest one. Change happens EVERY DAY. For me personally, I’ve been so resistant to the idea of living a different life and moving on. I loved my undergrad at BSU. I loved my life living on campus. I loved my routines and found comfort in what I hoped would last a lifetime. I’m not sure if gratitude taught me how to deal with change better, maybe that’s come with experience and age. What gratitude has taught me is how to be present when change is occurring. As we plunge further into the unknown, I know I can be grateful I’ve not only made it this far but I can appreciate how I got here. With the help of family, friends, mentors, and so many others, I know because of gratitude – I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in an ever changing Universe. 07.10.18

    Today I’m Grateful For…

    1. A few deep breaths
    2. Sharing podcasts and audiobooks. So many lessons learned from intelligent people open to sharing their experiences in our digital / technological age.
    3. Clean water. Going to Cambodia changed my life and inspired my journey in more ways than I initially comprehended.
    4. Friends who inspire my best self. Too many of them to list here but I am constantly inspired by these people and their unconditional support keeps me going.
    5. Great music. It feels like I have headphones in all day long and because of inspired and passionate artists, my mood benefits.
    6. My cat, Ned. Although I miss him dearly this summer I know he’s waiting for me at home and the time we spend together never fails to bring me happiness.
    7. The sunshine. The warmth on my skin simply walking from my apartment to work is a little thing that makes a huge difference.
    8. Home cooked meals. Not much I have to say about just how much I love and appreciate food and sharing it with others.
    9. My family. They’ve helped me get through my toughest times and this list wouldn’t be complete without them.
    10. Frank and Holly. The first two people to really teach me about “Loving my process”.
    11. Safe travels. I’ve been to a lot of places so far in 2018 and I’m grateful I’ve made it to all them in one piece. We live in a dangerous world!
    12. Holding hands. It takes a lot for me to let others into “my space” which makes the feeling extra special for me.
    13. Time at the gym. A chance to clear my head and feel refreshed after a long day sitting in the office.
    14. Vibrant sunsets. Something about the color in the sky acts as the perfect reminder everything is going to be okay even when it doesn’t feel like it.
    15. Kind strangers. There’s a lot of negativity in the world and when people I’ve never met demonstrate patience, care, and positivity, I really appreciate that.
    16. Time to journal. Similar to the gym, it’s the perfect opportunity to clear my head. A fantastic tool for my mental health wellbeing.
    17. Learning new things. I hope this is something I can do every day of my life so I’m appreciative of when I can identify this and build those skills for the future.
    18. Colored ice pops in the summer. I mean, nothing even came close to helping beat the heat than a couple blue ice pops.
    19. Nature. I love being outside and I’m constantly in awe of our planet. The serenity of it all is definitely something to be grateful for.
    20. New experiences. This goes hand in hand with embracing change. I wouldn’t be here if I lived in my comfort zone for the rest of my life. This is where the learning happens.
    21. The sound of rain. Nothing calms me down more or help me fall asleep faster. Definitely grateful.
    22. Clean laundry. I try not to take things like this for granted when others don’t have that access. Lots of things feel like a luxury when I know others have so little.
    23. My continued education. I’ve had a great experience in grad school so far and I’m thrilled to see what my final year brings.
    24. My grandma. For reasons I don’t want to get into, I’m grateful for the memories we’ve shared and how much she loves me.
    25. The here and now. Not much left to say. Grateful just to be here.
  • As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.Featured image of one of my all time favorite places. So often my mind goes back to here when I think about gratitude and patience.