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  • Lily Trabold

Sunshine Moments






“Every morning, I wake up, get my coffee and I recite in my head:


“It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning.”


And I just say it over and over again...

"On this fresh morning, I get the chance to live again and again and again.""





I recall many years back, just starting my health journey to overcome chronic digestive concerns and polycystic ovary syndrome. I was overwhelmed, I felt pulled in many directions and confused about the path forward. And I remember the sense of connectedness that overcame me when I read this quote.


It is a serious thing… I am so lucky… I really have been given the chance to live this life again and again on this fresh morning. This is a gift given to me today and I am one of the lucky ones being offered this opportunity. All of a sudden, everything seemed a little lighter and a whole lot brighter. Overwhelm quickly switched to opportunity and I felt a sense of responsibility to utilize the gift I have been given for something really special. And so, I began to understand the importance in being a life enthusiast.


More specifically - a daily life enthusiast.


I began to notice all the kind people and good opportunities surrounding me (or you might even say engulfing me) on a daily basis. That there is such purity in those moments of morning solitude, sipping on a hot drink of choice and pondering the day ahead. That listening for the first sound of your puppy’s paw pads hitting the hard wood floor can put an instant smile on your face. And the view of your partner’s gaze into your eyes in admiration as they walk through the door after a long work day illuminated by the sunset ambiance. There is always opportunity to find the good and I believe focusing our energy on these life miracles is the recipe for contentment in the present.


What we focus on expands, cultivates, intensifies and ultimately, it shapes our view of our world and all it has to offer. The practice of gratitude has become a mainstream awareness and for good reason. It is an incredibly effective strategy for health promotion across the lifespan, strongly correlated with a grander perception of happiness surrounding one’s life experience with an added bonus of lasting positive effects on our brain chemistry. Gratitude encourages us to view life through the scope of abundance and through the practice of gratitude, the newly found perspectives for optimism and opportunity will expand into other domains of our life.


And so, I established a practice that encouraged me to notice what I am grateful for and think about why I am grateful on a regular basis. For me, this meant the establishment of a daily journal practice that became systematic and consistent. Same place, same time, every single night as a means of checking in with myself and offering the opportunity for reflection. Overtime, I noticed building motivation to make the most of each day and I sensed myself looking forward to the reflective opportunity to record my “Sunshine Moment”. The practice of gratitude is so individual and what I love most about this practice is no two sunshine moments will be the same from person to person and there is such magic in that. I encourage you to explore gratitude practices that offer the sense of fulfillment I am so thankful to know and feel. There is no right or wrong way to practice - more so, it is the act of making promise to yourself and holding yourself accountable.


For a huge dopamine hit, consider scheduling a solo self-care date at the end of the calendar year, grab a cup of tea and pull out all your “Sunshine Moments” sheets for review. I absolutely love rereading what stuck out to me each day of the past year - it is invigorating and it gets me so excited for all that’s to come in the new chapter ahead. I guarantee you will be reminded of some really special memories that you might have otherwise overlooked.




 

References:


1. Allen, Summer. (2018). The science of gratitude. Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley.

2. Babic, R., Babic, M., Rastovic, P., Curlin, M., Simie, J., Mandie, K., & Pavlovie, K. (2020). Resilience in health and illness. Psychiatria Danubina, 32(2), 226-232.

3. Gabana, N. T., Steinfeldt, J., Wong, Y. J., Chung, Y. B., & Svetina, D. (2019). Attitude of gratitude: Exploring the implementation of a gratitude intervention with college athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 31(3), 273-284.

4. Jans-Beken, L., Jacobs, N., Janssens, M., et al. (2020). Gratitude and health: An updated review. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(6), 743-782.

5. Kelly, J. D. (2016). Your best life: Breaking the cycle: The power of gratitude. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 474(12), 2594-2597.

6. Krejtz, I., Nezlek, J. B., Michnicka, A., Holas, P., & Pusanowska, M. (2016). Counting one’s blessings can reduce the impact of daily stress. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 25-39.

7. Unanue, W., Mella, M. E. G., Cortez, D. A., Bravo, D., Araya-Veliz, C., Unanue, J., & Broeck, A. (2019). The reciprocal relationship between gratitude and life satisfaction: Evidence from two longitudinal field studies. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(2480).

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