Growing up, our overachiever family placed a high value on competency. Often that translated into a critical mindset toward self and others, where we frequently saw the bad before the good.
This way of being, like all patterns, became habitual for my siblings and me. And as my father’s daughter and a champion of “Let’s make it the best,” it’s a tendency I’ve been unraveling for years.
When you walk into a room and see your child working on a science project, greet your partner at the end of the day after a big presentation, or receive an email update about a new project, do you see what’s going “right” or immediately look for what’s going “wrong?”
Cultivating a gratitude practice has helped me to shift my perspective and see the gifts in any situation–even those that look horribly astray. An attitude of gratitude doesn’t come naturally to us. It was something I had to learn, to bring my attention and focus to, and to practice, practice, practice. I chose to focus on this mindfulness practice because I know from my good friend/author and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center researcher Dr. Christine Carter, it’s one of the fastest ways to FEEL GOOD. And to help those around us feel good, too.
I witnessed this recently while leading a women’s retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. It was Saturday afternoon, the retreat was half over and I could sense some of the women experiencing a contrast between the amazing connection they were feeling at the retreat and how this compared to life at home. So we hit the pause button and took some time for gratitude sharing. Within 15 minutes the energy of the entire group had shifted. I could feel it–we all could. It was as if someone had poured liquid sunshine over our heads. We were smiling, connected, heart-centered and happy.
Three ways my family (and friend groups) actively cultivates an attitude of gratitude include:
- Communicating from our hearts, rather than our heads: analytical criticism shuts others down, while gratitude and loving kindness makes us feel more open and appreciative of one another.
- Faking it until we feel it: when we’re stuck, grumpy or feeling irritable, one of us challenges the others to share one thing we’re grateful for and we continue this “round robin” style until we’re freely sharing all the things we have to celebrate. It may feel corny at first, but try it. It works every time, I promise.
- Spreading the gratitude virus: expressing gratitude is contagious. We feed on one another. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond. Being thankful begets thankfulness: at home, at work, at school, during carpool, on conference calls and waiting in line at the grocery store.
Voicing what we’re grateful for heightens our mood, shifts and broadens our perspective and supports us in remembering what really matters. It’s a gift that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. And it’s one I’m incredibly grateful for.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU & YOUR TEAM? HERE ARE FOUR OPPORTUNITIES:
- Wed. Dec. 21st (Winter Solstice) 6:30-9 p.m. ET (Virtual/live) ~ Still, Dark & Quiet: A Winter Solstice Mini Retreat. Sink in to deep rest on the longest night of the year. Enjoy connection + sisterhood. Learn more/register.
- Jan. 27 – 29th ~ Awakening Your Wild Soul: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, the largest retreat center in North America and my fav (don’t delay; this deeply replenishing, meditative winter retreat always sells out). I’ll also be at Kripalu leading this retreat April 14-16 and Oct. 13-15! Learn more.
- *NEW* Live in Western NC? Jan. – March ~ Sovereignty: Women’s Mastermind Group (in-person) for women leaders, teachers, healers, creatives and small business owners. Reclaim your power. Find Your voice. Six Thursday evenings. Brevard, NC. Learn more. Email email@example.com to receive a pre-invite.
- Empower your employees to find their center in 2023-24. Schedule me to create a custom workshop, keynote presentation or retreat to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations such as the American Heart Association, Kaiser Permanente, Ernst & Young, Women in Conservation, the Council on Family Violence, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Email workshops at reneetrudeau dot com. Learn more here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.