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Grateful for Growth | Katharine A Chestnut

Grateful for Growth

The past 19 months have had its challenges and setbacks for everyone, and somehow we can still be really hard on ourselves. When forgetting to be grateful, I can get weighed down by wondering if I did enough to help someone or got things “right” on a project.  

I take responsibility for that thinking, but in order to keep growing, I can’t stay attached to all of those what-ifs. Instead I work to stay in the moment, grateful for the challenges and setbacks, and thankful for the lessons I’ve learned — because that’s how I’m able to grow. 

There are a few ways that I practice feeling this gratitude. 

Sharing With Others

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.” 
Virgina Woolf

Whether it’s your money, time, or knowledge, being generous with those things is a great way to cultivate more gratitude in your life. 

One of my primary Love Languages is acts of service and I practice this a lot. This became crystal clear when my ex-husband asked about my work at WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

For thirty years, WW has been a supportive community to me. I’ve been a coach in the program for all of those years (after losing 50 lbs). My ex encouraged me to quit many times, adding it “wasn’t worth [my] time.” 

I recognized that I did it because I enjoyed it — not because it paid a livable salary (it doesn’t). 

I did it because I had personally gotten so much from those around me, I wanted to offer others the kind of support I received during my initial wellness journey. These days, I choose joy as a priority — for myself and for others. And helping others, brainstorming solutions and action plans, while offering compassionate perspective truly gives me joy. 

Grateful For Just Breathing + Being

Breathe Calmly Meditation Katharine Chestnut

A mindfulness practice is a great way to cultivate gratitude in your life. Pausing to reflect can offer perspective on situations, but breathing meditations can offer incredible calm and clarity. They’re also an accessible, easy way to incorporate mindfulness in your daily rhythm.

Plus bringing mindfulness into your gratitude practice yields big benefits. “When you combine gratitude and mindfulness, it allows you to acknowledge the blessings in your everyday life and sit with this moment, right now. During hard times, a gratitude and mindfulness practice may help keep your perspective balanced,” writes Hilary Lebow for Psych Central. 

Need a way to get started with meditation? It can be a challenge if you’re someone like me who’s typically always in their head. Insight Timer has made a huge difference in my life because I’m always thinking (the truth is that most of us are). Meditation has been a daily practice for almost 4 years now because of how much peace and calm I receive during and afterwards. Not to mention, the Insight Timer platform is so easy to use (and it’s the only free meditation app I’ve found).

Insight Timer has also given me a space to do my own meditations!

Here’s a guided meditation on gratitude to get you started. 

A Journaling Practice

“​​Even if I can’t think of anything profound, I still write about what I am grateful for in that moment, whether it’s the sunshine, a purring cat, the birds chirping, or the crepe myrtles blooming.”
Excerpt from my book, Inner Affirmations

The practice of gratitude can be powerful. Many therapists and counselors will recommend that their clients focus on gratitude.

You might also consider gratitude letters, if “journaling” sounds overwhelming (or underwhelming). Write a letter to someone you’re thankful for, or to yourself. 

In a Berkeley research study, participants who kept a consistent gratitude letter-writing practice “reported significantly better mental health for four weeks and again 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns.”

The Abundance of Gratitude

“Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.”
Amy Morin

This resilience fosters and supports your growth. Making a practice of gratitude, even in tiny ways like sharing recipes with others or writing down what you’re thankful for, is a strong foundation for a more abundant life. 

Ready to get started on your own gratitude practice? You can with some support and guidance! I’m on Insight Timer every Monday so you can set up your week in a mindset full of gratitude and intention. I’d love it if you joined me and the rest of the meditators there each week!