How I'm Quitting Comparison and the 40 Days of Gratitude Project
I hope you've been well! It's been a while since I've posted because life has just been so full, but I'm back with an update and fun, meaningful little project that I'm excited to share.
For the past 7 months I've been working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Holistic Health Expert to address some health issues I had been having. Nothing really serious, but I had a couple of nagging concerns that I wanted to talk to someone about and I also wanted to make sure my health was in tip top shape. I'm all about taking proactive steps to maintain and achieve health, and working with an RD has been one of the best investments in my health that I've ever made. I've been able to talk through my concerns and address my health holistically from a mental, physical, and spiritual perspective.
Yesterday I got some test results back and discussed them with my RD. The test revealed, among other things, that my body is super STRESSED. Honestly, considering what the last seven years of my life has been like, I wasn't too surprised. After four years of subpar eating habits and no sleep in college, three years of constant low-grade stress in law school, and an incredibly intense and stressful summer studying for the bar exam, the fact that my body is signaling that it's stressed was not a huge shock. To top it all off, I also recently moved to a new city, started a new job, and have had to navigate the stressors that come with adulting. Basically, there's been a lot of stressors (both good and bad) in my life recently and my body is demanding that I take a break.
After really giving it some thought, I realized that a large part of my battle with stress is mental. The excitement and busyness of the past few years has definitely contributed to my body being so stressed, but I also know that my mentality and the way I approach stressful situations has an even bigger part to play. Because of that, one of the ways I'm choosing to de-stress is by practicing gratitude. Let's just be honest, life can be downright hard. When things get tough, it's much easier to focus on all of the things we don't have or wish we could change. In the midst of a challenge, it can be hard to focus on all of the good in our lives and instead we get sucked into only seeing the negative, what we haven't accomplished, what we don't have, or what we can't change. We've all been there, and I don't know about you, but I've found that that way of thinking and living is pretty stressful. If you're not careful, you can get to a place where you feel defeated before you even start.
If I'm being completely honest, this has been a personal struggle for me lately. After graduating from law school, I thought my life (and bank account - student loans are so REAL) were supposed to look a certain way. People around me are constantly either getting married, having kids, buying houses, or making huge strides in their career, and while I'm happy for them, I've fallen into the death trap of comparison more times than I'd like to admit. Sometimes it's been a struggle to focus on my own journey and the path God has for ME without being distracted by everyone else's success or feelings of inadequacy. Adulting is already a challenge but pile on top of that the constant pressures we face from seeing everyone's social media highlight reel and feeling like we constantly need to do more or be better and it can feel downright impossible and stressful.
All of this is why I've decided to intentionally practice gratitude. I know that simply taking the time to intentionally focus on being grateful for my countless blessings, and what I've achieved so far, will help me to stop comparing and put all of my energy toward pursuing MY purpose and path.
Over the next 40 days, I'll be journaling about at least one thing I'm grateful for each morning. I know that, if I prioritize gratefulness first thing each morning, it will shift my mindset and perspective to a more positive and thankful place. I also know that, if I fill my mind with positive thoughts every morning, it will be easier to think positively throughout the day. Plus, if I have a positive perspective and outlook on life in general, when a challenge does arise (which it most likely will) I'll be better equipped to handle it. Starting with gratitude will set me up for a more successful and less stress filled day.
The purpose of the next 40 days is not to disregard the real life problems and stressors that many of us face on daily basis. Instead, it's about shifting our perspective and changing our outlook. It's about making the conscious choice to be laser focused on all of the good even during times when it seems that everything around us is falling apart. The challenges and stressors may still be present, and we'll do what we can to face them, but we'll also have a perspective of hope and an attitude of gratitude in the process.
If you want to join me in this, repost the picture below with the tag #40daysofgratitudeproject or just repost it directly from my Instagram page! When you post, be sure share how you'll be focusing on gratitude for the next 40 days! You can spend a few minutes journaling, thanking God in prayer, or just taking a moment during the day to be mindful of all the good in your life. Make sure to tag me (@allthehealthythings) in your post so I can see what you're up to! I'll also be doing a weekly recap of how the 40 Days of Gratitude Project is going for me and what I'm learning through it all.
Here's to starting 2017 off with a more grateful heart!