Lift Spirits, Ease Stress With Gratitude and Walking Meditation


IstockphotoI've been feeling super sorry for myself because I was supposed to be far, far away this weekend at a rustic cabin in the woods by a babbling brook, with my sweet hubby and our two cute little dogs. I was really looking forward to the break: Its been a tricky few months, emotionally, what with the rotten weather and piles of work—not to mention that like most people I know, I seem to be working a lot harder for a lot less money.

So I was sad and angry when I heard that our weekend plans fell through. I was working myself into a really good state of “Why me?” until my stronger self took over.

Its a habit that Ive developed over the years, allowing this stronger self to take over. It prevents me from falling into pits of despair and wallowing in useless self-pity. My tactic is utterly simple and may sound silly but it always works like a charm to lift my spirits: I just count my blessings.How I find my stronger self
Right now, knowing Im not going away to the cabin, Im reminding myself about how lucky I am that I even have friends (count one blessing) who own a cabin I can visit (count two)—if not this holiday weekend, then some other time soon. Im also focusing on the fact that I have a sweet husband (three) and a loving family (four) and two cute dogs (five, six) and a roof over my head (seven). There you have it: I have seven wonderful things to be happy about, and Im just getting started.

If youre gagging while reading because I sound like such an impossible Pollyanna, just stop it for a second. This is what Im talking about: Its really easy to lose sight of the wonderful things you do have when youre mired in sadness and regret for what you dont have. Long ago, I made this promise to myself: That I would choose to be happy—even if I had to fake it. Now I dont know whether a shrink would agree with my approach, but I can tell you that after years of some pretty major trials and tribulations, I am a happy person, and focusing on my blessings is what has gotten me through some really tough times.

What Ill be doing this weekend
So I wont be at this idyllic cabin (Id even collected some fabulous recipes to cook over a wood fire) for Memorial Day. How will I re-create the big de-stressing I was hoping to give myself?

Ill stop and smell the roses: If you zoom past blooming flowers without taking a closer look, youre missing out on one of natures most incredibly beautiful creations. I guarantee you, a walk though a rose garden today or within the next couple of weeks—roses are at their height right now—will send your spirits shooting to the stratosphere. I urge you to walk slowly. Tiptoe, even.

Turn your stroll into a walking meditation, where you glide slowly and purposefully as if youre moving through molasses. Feel the ground under your feet and feel how your muscles propel you. Focus on every sensation that comes to you and give each one your complete attention. When you look at each blossom, note the extraordinary range of colors, fragrances (each rose smells different), and textures. Try to pull your thoughts back if they wander from the immediate experience youre having.

Take as much time as possible, focusing tightly on whats right in front of your nose. I guarantee youll feel refreshed, renewed, and happy.