If you read my two-part 31 Walks in 31 Days (part 1, part 2) post, you know that whenever possible, I prefer to get my exercise outside. Our weather in Seattle is relatively mild (compared to the extreme temperature range I grew up with in the Midwest), so while it gets a little trickier in the winter months, outdoor exercise is pretty doable most of the year here.
I woke up this morning to a sunny and clear day, so I was especially excited to take advantage of the day off to start 2016 on a healthy note with a long walk. I’ve gotten in to the habit of checking the weather forecast on my phone before I head out so that I can attempt to dress appropriately for the temperature and (ideally lack of) precipitation.
Today’s forecast called for “abundant sunshine”. If you’ve never visited or lived in Seattle, that’s probably not what you’d expect here, especially in January. But it was completely accurate for today.
The concept of abundance really stuck with me as I walked. It’s easy to fall in to a post-holiday slump in January that can be intensified by shorter days, colder weather, and the letdown that many people feel once the distractions of holiday festivities are over and life returns to normal.
So often on January 1, we start taking an inventory of what we’re doing wrong, what we should resolve to stop doing, and/or what we want less of in our lives. Then we set resolutions from that mindset.
Obviously, I’m a huge supporter of taking inventory of your health habits and changing the ones that are negatively impacting your health (and I am more than happy to help you with that!). And the start of the new year is a natural time to set intentions for change.
But what if we shifted our mindset away from what we want less of? What if, in conjunction with focusing on what we want to change about our habits, we focused on gratitude for what we already have and resolved to increase more of what we want?
What if we focused on what we want to have in abundance in the coming year?
I’ve certainly experienced my share of pain, setbacks, and losses in my life. And it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed when I focus on those things. But today, as I walked in the incredible Seattle winter sunshine, I turned my focus instead to the gratitude I feel for those aspects of my life where there is already abundance.
Here are some of the ways that abundance shows up in my life:
I feel fortunate to have quite a few very long-standing friendships, many that have endured for 15, 20, or even 30 years despite geographical distance. I appreciate all of the friends in my life, but I have found that it is especially necessary for my soul to have long-term friends who know who I am at my core because we’ve been together during the highs and lows during multiple phases of our lives.
I have a body that is stronger, healthier, and less painful to live in today than it was 10 or even 20 years ago. This is the result of intentional lifestyle changes, personal and professional choices, and doing the emotional work that was necessary for me. And while I have normal aches and pains, I’m fortunate not to have any life-threatening illnesses. Because of the work that I do, I am constantly reminded of the value of good health and try to remain grateful that I am healthy.
I have come to realize that I will likely always want to spend my time helping others to improve their emotional and physical health. Although I have a range of interests, I can’t imagine not being a health care provider. I believe that all professions are necessary and valuable. And part of what I love about my ergonomics practice is that I get to learn about what each of my clients has a professional passion for and then help them continue to pursue it by reducing their pain. This work confirms for me that I am in the right field because I’ve never had a client whose job I wished I had instead of my own (although many of my clients have pretty cool jobs).
On a personal note, I have a partner who supports me in everything I do, accepts me as I am, shows me a different perspective on life, and never hesitates to tell me that he believes in my abilities (often more than I believe in them myself). How could I not feel grateful for that?
So as we start 2016 and set intentions for the new year, I offer up these questions:
Where does abundance already show up in your life?
In what areas of your life are you already successful (and can you use that experience to help you reach a new goal)?
Can focusing on gratitude change your perspective and improve your happiness?
If you've resolved to make changes to your health habits in 2016 and need professional support and guidance, if you need help managing pain, if you want to learn how to eat a healthier diet, and/or if you have a home or work environment with less than ideal ergonomics - I'm here to help! Contact me and let me know how I can support you!