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5 Ways to Embrace Gratitude in Everyday Life

Kristin Fields Mauer of Tealeaves, Turnips & Fireflies

Kristin Fields Mauer of Tealeaves, Turnips & Fireflies

How can you become more grateful in life? Hire a housekeeper, personal chef or laundry service? Granted, those ideas seem pretty amazing. But, we can embrace gratitude and drastically change our outlook on life just by adding a few simple actions to our daily routines. Try these tips to help YOU become less hateful and more GRATEFUL!

1) UNPLUG YOURSELF & YOUR FAMILY – The majority of the civilized world functions with ear buds and iPhones attached to their person at all times. If we’re not taking a snapshot of our sushi lunch with the BFF’s or tweeting about “loving life” then we’re tuned into some mindless reality television show where people are either buying new boobs or some dude is sharing his ‘talent’ (and I use that word loosely) of juggling milk cartons upon a 15 ft. unicycle whilst balancing a flaming bowl cow dung on his forehead, all in the hopes of winning his way to the top of some brainless competition. TURN OFF the world and TUNE IN to your family. It will encourage togetherness – which every family needs more of in this day and age. It might even salvage a few brain cells and/or create some spare time to play a board game with the kiddos. You’ll be much more grateful for having heard your children’s laughter over another round of ‘Candy Land’ rather than reading the latest gossip on Facebook about “Brenda’s brother’s skanky girlfriend” who just got her groove on with “Mike’s best friend”… Seriously?

2) SKIP AROUND THE BLOCK – I’m not even joking. Whether you’re fearful that your family already has a knack for freaking out the neighbors or you’re planning to devour a vat of ice cream and zone out in a sugar coma on the couch for the rest of the evening, FORCE YOURSELF (and your family) to skip around the neighborhood! Okay, so maybe skipping isn’t your thing (although it’s impossible to NOT be happy whilst skipping) at least take a brisk walk. Be mindful of the world around you. Get the blood flowing, observe the trees and bees and lovely breeze. Stop and smell the roses. Seriously… STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES. Substitute your favorite “America’s Got Incredibly Disturbing People with Unusually Peculiar Talents” reality show with a stroll through the hood. Set your alarm 15 minutes early in the morning to squeeze in a quick skip down the street. Be grateful! You have been blessed with the ability to move around freely!

3) WEAR A SMILE – Do yourself a favor (along with everyone else) and don’t walk around with a creepy grin on your face while making extended eye contact with passers-by and/or their children. It’s unnerving. Other parents will possibly start getting anxious and you can pretty much bet “little Alexis” isn’t going to be allowed to attend your kid’s next birthday party. But make an effort to wear a smile from time to time. After all, smiling increases serotonin in the brain. I might have just made that up, but I really do think I read it somewhere. Regardless, smiling can brighten someone’s day and help you feel cheerful. I’m not suggesting that you adopt a fake, happy persona. But wearing a smile reminds us (and others) that life is good and we should be grateful.

4) GROW YOUR OWN – NO… I’m not talking about growing medicinal marijuana in the backyard of the housing complex. I’m merely suggesting that you pop a tomato plant or two in the ground next spring. Maybe add a few potted herbs to your kitchen window or grow a row of sunflowers along the fence line. Sewing seeds and watching them grow into beautiful flowers or yummy produce is so rewarding. Chat with the kids about how even the smallest of edible harvests should serve as a reminder to be grateful. We live in a country where we have access to healthy, plentiful foods and water. And let’s face it; sunflowers are the epitome of happiness!

5) BREATHE – Clearly you’re breathing or you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. But there’s a difference between sucking air for survival and breathing in with intention and purpose. The next time you get stuck at a red light or have a few minutes alone in the car while the kids finish up soccer practice, just breathe. Don’t check text messages or pick off chipped fingernail polish. Intentionally breathe. Inhale while envisioning yourself breathing in gratitude and joyfulness. Exhale while envisioning yourself expelling negativity and stress. Sound corny? Do it anyway, at least a few times, every single day.

These suggestions won’t solve the world’s problems (or get your mountain of laundry washed) but a smidge of mindfulness can equate to a major increase in gratefulness. Incorporate these small acts into your daily life, and maybe a little extra gratitude will sneak its way into your creepy smile.).

Bio pic

Kristin and her husband Josh make their home in Norfolk, Virginia where she is a stay-at-home Momma to their 3 joyful and creative kiddos.  She is also the owner of  “PAiNtS & PiNtS” a traveling art studio that offers up classes, workshops and painting parties for both adults and children in the Tidewater area.  Kristin is a strong believer that few ‘funks’ in life can’t be eliminated by a good yoga practice, digging in the dirt or a blank canvas and a paintbrush! Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/PAiNtS-PiNtS/239808816071369.

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