Anyone else starting to feel like they’re starring in the movie Groundhog Day? Over the past few months, there’s been so much change, disappointment, and fear while at the same time boredom, repetitiveness, and restlessness. In my last post, I wrote about making room for all our feelings and giving ourselves permission to be exactly where we are. Today, let’s explore a practice that I like to think of as a life preserver and light maker, even (especially) in the darkness of hard times:
Years ago, before becoming a certified coach and mindset educator, I thought of gratitude as a random feeling that would happen upon me. Things are going well = I feel grateful. Someone does something kind = I feel grateful. I finally accomplish something I’ve worked hard for = I feel grateful. And while those are definitely true, I was missing a big part of gratitude...that it is a state that can be cultivated and practiced.
Before we get into how to practice it, let’s talk about the benefits of gratitude. Research has shown that when we think about what we are grateful for, our parasympathetic nervous system, which is our calming system, is triggered, which decreases stress hormones. I don’t know about you, but right now I need all the calm I can get. In the past few decades, researchers have also found that gratitude can create improvements in psychological, physical, and social wellbeing. According to Positive Psychology, some of these benefits include:
As I’ve learned over the past several years, the great thing about gratitude is that the more you practice it, the more things you find to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude, even for a few minutes a day, helps us realign with what IS going right and what we DO have, however small.
To give you a jump start, I’ve created this quick 5 step daily gratitude practice. Studio owners and teachers, I’ve also made this handouton ways you can incorporate gratitude into your studio and (virtual) classes. Especially right now, gratitude practices can help us and our students connect and realign for a positive (and productive!) class. For even more ideas, here’s a list of practices from Positive Psychology to try.
The most important thing to remember is that gratitude is a practice. Some days it’ll feel more inspiring and natural. Others it’ll feel more difficult. And that’s okay. Gratitude isn’t about diminishing your other feelings, but rather reconnecting to your resourcefulness and joy.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out for extra resources or questions as they arise. We’re all in this together. If you’d like support while you go through this process, or if you’re interested in my work, head to my website to learn more and see how we can work together to build your healthy mindset to navigate the dance world at your best. You can also find me on Instagram for more free tools, resources, and inspiration.
Ashley Mowrey is a Performance Mindset Coach and Educator located in Fayetteville, AR. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, is a Certified Professional Coach through Coach Training World, as well as a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Leadership Program for Women. Ashley trained as a competitive dancer out of Dallas, TX before teaching and eventually directing a company and dance studio in Fayetteville, AR. It was during those years that she felt drawn towards the dancer’s mindset and the need for training and tools for a healthy mindset in the dance community. Now, as a Performance Mindset Coach, she is also a dance specialist with Dancers for Doctors. Ashley has also recently been featured on Dance Studio Amplified Podcast, (Ep. 14), Dance Boss University Mastermind guest presenter, and will be on an upcoming episode of Dance Boss Podcast.
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