The research on gratitude is pretty impressive! The simple act of writing in a gratitude journal once a day can improve your:
- Emotional Health; more resilient, more relaxed, less stress
- Physical health; better sleep, less doctors visits, longevity, more energy
- Social skills: more friendly, deeper relationships, more friends
- Career skills; better management skills, improved decision making, increased productivity,
- Personality; more optimistic, less materialistic, more self esteem
What happens when you use gratitude during exercise time?
You get all these benefits while improving your relationship with your body, your physical health and your motivation to continue exercising.
Exercise is typically at time to notice what your body cannot do. The purpose of exercise has become a way to improve your body in the future. This future focus mindset during exercise can take us in the opposite direction of gratitude, not only missing out on the benefits but limiting the health benefits of exercise. Exercise can quickly become a reminder of how far you have to go or how much you don’t measure up to the person next to you or the person you used to be or want to be. When it becomes a time of practicing self criticism and negativity. Those traits are not leading you toward health and wellbeing, no matter how fit your body becomes!
The simple fact is, what you practice gets stronger.
You might say sure! but if I don’t push myself I wont improve. I need a goal to be motivated.
While that may be true for athletics, it is not the truth for exercise motivation for heath benefits. You can set goals, but when you are exercising, keep your attention on what you can do today. This makes it more likely you will stick with it to get to that goal, while improving your health each time you move.
Research consistently shows that mindful self compassion leads to lasting motivation and self criticism leads to short term motivation.
If you are exercising to be healthy, the best way to improve your health and your long term motivation is having gratitude for what you can do now. You will be using mindfulness and self compassion, improving those skills known to improve eating and stress management skills too.
Give it a try and see how it goes. Move your body and focus on what you are grateful for that it can do now, today. Post what you notice in comments!
Keep Moving, Be Grateful, Be Well