iHeart 7 Week Challenge: Week 5 | Express Gratitude
I am not really a morning person— I wake up quite slowly and it’s a real slog for me to workout before 9am. Monday morning last week I opened my eyes, lying in bed, and took an iHeart reading: Internal Age 42 (Pulse Wave Velocity 9.08 m/s).
This week’s challenge: Express Gratitude.
“After waking up in the morning, before you get out of bed or start thinking about the day ahead express thanks for another day of life. It doesn’t matter who you thank, it can be people in your life now or from the past, it can be a spiritual presence, it doesn’t matter. Just spend a couple of minutes being appreciative.”
I closed my eyes and started thinking about all the things I was grateful for, then I accidentally fell asleep and woke up an hour later! I guess I was tired.
Tuesday I managed to do a bit better, thanks to my phone timer. I woke up, stayed in bed and took my iHeart reading: Internal Age 48, (Pulse Wave Velocity 9.64 meters/second). I set my timer for 3 minutes so I wouldn’t doze off afterwards. I closed my eyes and thanked all the amazing people and opportunities in my life. Then my timer went off. Time to get up! I measured my iHeart reading again: Internal Age down to 47 (Pulse Wave Velocity 9.56 m/s).
According to positive psychology research, gratitude is associated with greater reported happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, and helps them deal with adversity and build stronger relationships.
I often, albeit spontaneously, think about how lucky I am to have such a great life but I struggled a bit to find ways to be appreciative in my thought for 3 solid minutes without breaking concentration last week. I ended up just listing things off in my head like: “i’m thankful for the love of my life, my mom and dad, my brother, my friends, my family, my health, a great job, clean air, good water...what am i missing?...is it garbage day?..”. Finally on Thursday I decided I needed a bit more guidance for my gratitude expression. I turned to an app, Calm, for extra support and popped on their 3-minute “Loving-Kindness” session (it’s free). Before, my Internal Age was 53 with a Pulse Wave Velocity of 10.91 m/s. Two minutes after my Calm session I was down to an Internal Age of 48 with a Pulse Wave Velocity of 9.66 m/s. Calm has a whole week of meditations on learning to appreciate what you have called “7 Days of Gratitude”. This multi-day series is not free so I haven’t committed yet- although I’m quite tempted.
I’ve really enjoyed starting my day on such a positive note— it’s hard to be grumpy when you think about all the amazing things you have. It’s also hard not to do something that only takes 3 minutes and has such positive effects on your mind and body. After all, studies have shown that dispositional gratitude predicts self-reported physical health.
Up Next: Week 6— Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Let’s do this!
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