5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude

Have your heard about how gratitude brings happiness? Do you want to start your own gratitude practice, but you’re not sure how?

Everyone agrees that mental health and wellness is a necessity for finding happiness and living a healthy life.

Over the past few years, I have discovered the power of gratitude. I used to get stuck in these negative thought patterns that would go from a thought, to a complaint to a stressor that I couldn’t get rid of. I felt like I knew i was so lucky to have all i do, but I didn’t really know!

I’ve committed to being intentional with my practice, holding myself accountable and noticing when I’m stuck in a negative thought pattern. It has changed the way I perceive the world and has allowed me to manage my stress, gain clarity and find balance in my life.

I’m definitely not perfect and still struggle with my negative thoughts, but finding gratitude is an intentional and continuous practice. I’m excited to share some of my favorite ways to practice gratitude with you!

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I’m sharing some of the ways I practice gratitude and I’m excited for you to join me on this journey!

  1. Start a gratitude journal. 

    • Start by making a list of the things you are grateful for. Keep it as simple as you need. Try to think about the things you take for granted. Start with something as easy as “I am grateful for fresh air because it keeps me alive”

  2. Genuinely thank people when they do something for you.

    • Sincerely thank people for their service, support or care. Next time you grab a coffee at you local coffee shop, thank the barista and be specific. Letting people know what you’re grateful for keeps it sincere.

    • When we offer gratitude into the world, we will start to see it come back to us.

  3. Take a moment.

    • Take a few minutes each day or every few days to hold gratitude for the people you love. Think of a person you love, imagine them laughing and happy. Think about why you are grateful for them.

    • Take it another step further and send a love one a quick text. Let them know you’re grateful for them.

  4. Check yourself.

    • We all experience negative thinking. Especially when life becomes stressful. It’s so easy to slip into that negative thought pattern. While it’s SO important to experience that and work through it, sometimes it’s hard to get out.

    • Try calling yourself out, kindly of course. When you notice that you’re stuck in the negative thought pattern, grab a piece of paper and write down five things you are grateful for. Take a few deep breaths. Reread your list. Remind yourself of all the beautiful things you do have in your life.

  5. Set a goal.

    • Aim to set aside some time each week to dedicate to your gratitude practice. Remember that this is a process, it takes consistency, time and intention to build your gratitude practice. Don’t rush the process, embrace it.

    • There will still be times of negativity, frustration and stress, allow these times to happen. But be aware, notice them, and when you feel you have enough control, intentionally shift your mindset. Practice gratitude.

Balancing Act

Managing a small business, home life and personal well being.

Stress seems to be a constant battle. I know I need to let it go. Even though I try to manage stress through exercise, play and socializing I still manage to feel stressed out. I think a lot of it comes from my personality of just going with the flow a little too much. It is difficult to run a business by only going with the flow and flying by the seat of my pants because there needs to be structure. 

I have a love-hate relationship with structure. I strive on it and I become bored. I don't like the daily grind. It's mind numbing. But when I have a plan laid before me and am told I must execute x, y, and z... I do it. Where do I find the balance of structure and freedom?

I have yet to discover this perfect balance, but I believe I am getting closer. The adventure of starting and managing my own small business that requires dedication, structure and timeliness is where the answer lies, or so I believe. I know I can do it. I am doing it. But I must find the balance of planning and playing and going with the flow. 

I’ve decided to create my own path, pave it with the things I want and to not give a fuck about what the socially acceptable way of growing up is.
— Olivia Merritt
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In order to avoid structure I tend to involve myself in a thousand different activities including running, teaching, painting, drawing, hiking, working at a brewery, spending time with friends, traveling, playing music and other random things I can't think of right now. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and wonder why the fuck I would want to run 10 miles in one day, teach for 2 hours, paint a painting, work a shift at the brewery and then go out for drinks with friends while also knowing I have to wake up early the next day to run some more. Then I remember the steady routine of going to work at 8 am coming home at 5pm, watching TV until I was bored, going to sleep and repeating it all over again 5 days a week. 

For some the routine is grounding and is a safe space. For me it is boring, anxiety filled and brings about thoughts of is this how my life is going to be forever? I don't want that life. So I've decided to create my own path, pave it with the things I want and to not give a fuck about what the socially acceptable way of growing up is. I don't ever want to grow up if that means I'm doing the same damn thing all day long for the rest of my days. Nope. 

So for now... I will work to manage my life, reduce my stress, find balance and create a path that is designed by me, followed by me and open for others to join in too. 

Much love,

Olivia

Hello!

There's a first for everything...

It is about being fearlessly and relentlessly true to yourself.

So, here I am, attempting to write something that will interest people. I draw a blank. Before sitting down to write this entry, I had hundreds of ideas flowing through me. I thought, oh I could write about this or that. Did I write any of those ideas down? No, of course not. Now I sit here wishing that past Olivia would have taken the two minuets to write down a couple ideas. 

Fortunately, writing with no purpose sometimes gets the ideas flowing. We can all relate with doing something for the first time. There is a sense of nervousness, excitement and vulnerability. When I do something for the first time, I remind myself to be confident, soon this won't be a first anymore, enjoy the feeling of excitement and be in the moment. While I repeat those things to myself over and over, I am also shaking with nervousness, second guessing my every move, or word in this case, and hoping all turns out ok. 

Grow and be Vibrant  by Olivia Merritt at Balsam & Olive, LLC

Grow and be Vibrant by Olivia Merritt at Balsam & Olive, LLC

In my experience, most of the time firsts turn out ok and turn into seconds and then routines. Unfortunately, there are those firsts that go terribly wrong. Like the time I worked at In 'n Out Burger back in high school and I didn't turn off the shake dispenser. Ice cream spilled all over the floor... my worst fear had come true. Totally embarrassing... fortunately, I got to keep my job and that first day became a funny memory and a story. The embarrassment and vulnerability passed and I ended up working there for 5 years!

I guess what I am trying to say is don't be afraid to do something for the first time just because you might get embarrassed or do something wrong. Yes, you might end up totally screwing it all up... but, you might end up loving it. 

So, here's to my first blog entry. Don't hesitate. Live in the moment. Try something new.