14 May Student Blog: Practicing GratitudeReading Time: 4 minutes
Wellness is ingrained in our campus culture at Aveda Institute Madison. From guided meditations, to yoga sessions, we encourage students to check in with themselves and practice self-care and mindfulness so they are ready to learn and grow in the classroom, clinic lab and beyond. Quincey Melms is a cosmetology student at Aveda Institute Madison, and is currently participating in distance learning at the institute. To maintain her wellness, especially during these unprecedented world events, Quincy has been practicing gratitude. Read on to learn her wellness wisdom and tips for practicing gratitude.
There was a time in my life that I always felt like the victim; I focused on how things hurt me and dwelled on the negative. This was a very toxic mindset. It caused me to turn into this “poor me, the world is against me,” sour, undesirable-to-be-around, not-fun person. I didn’t even like myself. I remember my relationships started to crash before my eyes, and I no longer felt moments of joy. This is when I realized I had been taking everything in my life for granted and that something had to change in order to live a life with happiness. The day I realized this, I decided to become more mindful and start practicing gratitude.
It started off small. The first thing that helped me to start practicing gratitude was learning how to wake up slowly. Next, I made it a habit to dedicate a few minutes of each day to thinking of things I’m grateful for. I got creative. I shared gratitude. Then, I started thinking about all the things I knew I could never live without no matter how deep or seemingly superficial that thing was. These rituals have helped me live with more gratitude and reshaped my perspective on life.
Wake Up Slowly
Waking up slowly allows me to take some time in the morning to putz around, think about my dreams and mentally review the events of yesterday while sipping my coffee under the rising sun. Reflecting on each passing day allows me to assess my losses, but also my wins. Taking some time in the morning for reflection was one step in reshaping my perspective to thinking how lucky I am to live the life I have.
List the Things You Are Grateful For
At the end of each night, I tell myself, out loud, what I am grateful for in that given day. This list includes things like: the sun being out that day, getting to cook a delicious meal, getting to enjoy hot coffee, talking to my best friend on Facetime, cuddling with my cat, laughing, even crying. Anything that made me feel something, even the seemingly mundane, I would give thanks to, because it meant that I was living life and that I still have a lot to learn, and what a pleasure that is.
Allow yourself to get creative. Creativity allows you to process your thoughts, while not taking yourself so seriously. Get creative and be goofy; color outside the lines, splatter paint, draw with your eyes
closed, get messy. If you hate your work, just try again. Being creative allows you to reflect on life in a fun, lighthearted way. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and nothing seems right. Practicing creativity, whether it’s through art or writing, can help slow down your thoughts and give you the space to realize there are ways to see the lighter side of it all.
The more you share it with others, the more it becomes a pillar in your lifestyle. Tell friends, family, instructors and coworkers that you appreciate what they do. Whether it’s checking in to say hello, helping you work on a project or taking extra time to help you learn something, find gratitude for the people in your life and share it with them when you do.
List the Things You Couldn’t Live Without
Thinking of the things I depend on makes me realize how lucky I truly am. Every day, I list things like: the roof over my head, food in my tummy, my cat that makes me super happy and laugh super hard, the relationship I have with my parents, the relationship I have with my sister who is a best friend, the sun and a bed to sleep in. And some days, I might list things like makeup, a phone, my hair straightener, my favorite jacket and school. By doing this, I shift my mind set from being sad, because of something I didn’t have, to being grateful, for all the things I do have.
Practicing gratitude changed my life in many positive ways. I no long take things or people for granted. I am thankful for every chance and opportunity that presents itself to me. I do feel that everything happens for a reason, whether the reason is to help you grow, make you smile or just make you think. When we start focusing on the positive and stop dwelling on the negative, our way of thinking shifts. You are in control of your life and if you choose to take it with grace and gratitude, I honestly believe you will live it fuller and happier every step of the way.
We love Quincey’s advice on learning to live more mindfully and appreciating what we have. Gratitude is the key to wellness, and wellness is at the core of our institute.