gratitude

Are you “Gratitudinally Fit?” Or “Gratitudinally Challenged?” 'Get your gratitude on' for ultimate happiness!

I am not a scientist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc, but I do consider myself a self-taught expert on the subject of GRATITUDE and happiness as it has been my mission and my passion for the past 5 years.

I am a PHD., though….

Pretty….

Happy….

Dammit!

(haha I just made that up! I’m so clever that I amaze myself sometimes!)

(What’s even MORE amazing is that with this brain that’s quick with the clever sayings and with a vast knowledge of every lyric of any 80’s song….I still manage to forget how old I am and maybe even find my wallet in the freezer..)

But I digress…

“Doc Lauren” completely concurs with this gorgeous quote by Dr. Steven Maraboli and I believe that happiness and GRATITUDE go hand in hand and that our happiness levels directly coincide with how gratitudinally fit we are at that moment.

In doing the research for my book as well as living with my own experiences, I’ve found that I can have the same pain levels two days in a row, but the way the pain affects me emotionally (and therefore, how happy I am) can be drastically different on those two days. Why is that?

The answer depends on whether I’m  ‘gratitudinally fit’….or ‘gratitudinally challenged.’

When I’m gratitudinally fit, it means that I’m doing what I need to do to keep my life and my struggles/pain in perspective – it’s my gratitude practice.

Clearly I talk a LOT about gratitude considering I’m writing a book on the subject not to mention running a group of 3,200 kickass peeps in pain who are using gratitude to help them live happy lives.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m gratitudinally fit.  I need to have my own practice that I do consistently.

In 2016 I embarked on my first “Gratitude Project“…a much more enormous undertaking than I ever could have imagined when first starting out.  I vowed to write one new thing every day on Facebook that I’m grateful for.  My challenge to myself was to try to not repeat any entries and to try to make sure they weren’t things of materialistic nature.  I managed to finish and the entire experience left a profound imprint on my life -I felt on top of the world and at the height of gratitudinal fitness.

But in 2017, not so much so….I thought that by working on the two books (one with my “Gratitude Project” entries and one on gratitude and chronic illness) that I’d be gratitudinally on fire!

Nope.

And what about being Admin of my very-active Facebook page of grateful pain peeps talking about gratitude all day?  Surely that makes me feel gratitudinally fit…yes?

Nope.  Well….not completely.

I’ve found that I need to have a specific practice, just for me.  Whether it’s a gratitude journal, a project (I’m doing a new “Gratitude Project” now in 2018), a meditation, art….something that’s mine alone.

Just talking about gratitude does not make it a practice.  For me it needs to be deliberate and mindful and make me truly reflect on what it is that I’m grateful for.

It has to be just for me, and it has to be daily….or pretty close to it.

I mix up my practice quite a bit (me+boredom=no gratitude practice) to keep things fresh and interesting and make me want to continue with it.  I’ve started incorporating art into my gratitude journal, and my project for this year is another Facebook one…but this time it’s a wall that I adhere things to that I’m grateful for every day.

Why do I go to all of this trouble to stay gratitudinally fit?

Because it feels good….great, actually.

It makes me feel strong, self-confident in my actions and thoughts, and full of self-love with an overabundance of happiness.  That’s a tall order for most peeps to begin with, but to have an overabundance of happiness while living with chronic pain…..now THAT’S something special.

And that’s why I work very hard to ‘get my gratitude on’ and to stay gratitudinally fit.

In addition to my very deliberate daily practice, there are a few other things I need to stay on top of in order for me to feel at the top of my gratitude game…

  • Stay connected – Sometimes when we live with struggles of any kind, we have a tendency to isolate.  Staying connected, whether in person, online (my fabulous group “Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain” is my lifeline!) or through a club or fellowship….it helps us to realize that we aren’t all that unique and that our problems are not the biggest problems ever known in the history of man.  Peeps deal with stuff every day and a lot of times, their problems are a whole lot bigger than ours.
  • Do service – Help someone else in any way you can. It can be as simple as answering someone’s question or providing a listening ear to an online friend who needs it.  This is another way that I’m able to keep myself grounded and to get out of my own way long enough to see that the world doesn’t revolve around me (shocking!!!)
  • Have fun – This can encompass a whole bunch of things, but laughing and having some good ol’ silly fun is not only a stress-relief for me, but it helps me to not take life and myself so seriously.  Life is too short to spend it complaining about my situation and how badly I may hurt.  Let’s play!  Go to the movies or rent one at home.  Schedule an online video chat with some friends and talk about the stupid stuff you used to do as kids!  Teach yourself something you’ve always wanted to learn (I’m learning watercolors right now!)

When I do these things and maintain my own personal gratitude practice, I feel gratitudinally fit enough to take on the world and all of the curve balls it throws my way (and believe me….they’re thrown from every possible angle!!!)  Being gratitudinally challenged may mean the difference of  my pain level feeling like  a 6 versus feeling like a 3 on any given day – the pain and my condition  are still there, of course, but how I perceive and receive it are what makes the difference in my overall happiness.

And the key to being happy is simply being gratitudinally fit.

When your heart and soul fully embodies gratefulness, there’s no room for anything else but love, fulfillment, and infinite happiness.

 

Lauren has lived with lupus & fibromyalgia for 18 years & is the founder of the FB group, "Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain (AoG.)" Also a recovering alcoholic, Lauren discovered the power of GRATITUDE during her recovery for that as well as in dealing with her chronic illness. In 2016 she embarked on her "Gratitude Project" by writing an essay on one new thing that she was grateful for every day on Facebook for the entire year. It was that project that sparked the website gratitudeaddict.com and she's currently writing a book called "Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain" based on how living with the intention of gratitude has changed her life with chronic pain as well as the lives of the thousands of members of AoG. Lauren also sits on the Board of Trustees and is Social Media Coordinator for Chronic Pain Anonymous. #GetYourGratitudeOn