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Better than before #GratitudeCircle

by Vidya Sury March 26, 2021 1 comment
I am trying to be better than before!

If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it is that we only ever really directly experience life through the present moment, in the here and now. To feel happy, to be better than before, or to get something done, or to communicate something to a loved one, it’s essential to bring our awareness into the present moment.

Because now is all we can be sure of.

The past month has been a bit unreal with sad news and feeling a bit disoriented. It has been quite devastating especially after we lost a really close family member last month. This was followed by two more deaths in the family. First, our uncle passed away. Then, our cousin (the uncle’s son), who had been admitted in hospital and was on the ventilator also passed away. He did not even know that his dad had passed.

Just goes to show even more that we must hold every single moment close to our heart and make the most of it.

We have to slow down to appreciate every moment. I find it tragic that virtually all of us end up becoming so distracted by our goals, worries, aspirations, and ruminations that we entirely lose track of our blessings.

To get myself back on track, I started a new health routine in the beginning of March and it has kept me busy in the kitchen and trying to settle into the process. Would you laugh if I told you that it seems like half my time goes in cleaning greens? The good news is I am seeing the results of my efforts and that keeps me motivated.

The world is a more magical place when we enjoy all the little things we experience on a daily basis. So let me count the ways I’ve been practicing this with gratitude

. . . and trying to be better than before!

I am working on being better than before

I’ve been slowing down consciously to savor positive moments and experiences

It is impossible to enjoy life when we are always rushing around and don’t pay attention to the present moment. We do tend to do that when we keep our attention focused rigidly on the next goal, milestone, or checklist item that stands before us, don’t we?

Worrying over a lesser workload won’t get me anywhere, anyway. I am using the time to focus on my health. I’ve made it a point to slow down consciously. No more rushing through meal times or coffee. I enjoy every step of the process, right from grocery shopping to preparing those meals with love and then sitting down to savor every mouthful. I take time to notice and appreciate each sip, the taste, the aroma, the texture – all of which lead to a grateful and more positive experience.

Doing this keeps me stress-free and I am aware that this is very important to manage my blood sugar levels. The new routine I started last month is working for me and my fasting sugar is much better than before. I also make sure I eat on time every day with an early dinner. Still struggling with sleeping early although I am up early – I am working on that too.

Overall, I think the slowing down has really helped.

I have also begun to enjoy my fitness classes more – it is amazing how consistent practice makes many things easier and turns them into something we look forward to eagerly! And of course, I am grateful to be enjoying a fitness routine from the comfort of my home (thanks to Janaki) especially when we’re having the second-wave virus scare.

I am doing a “daily review” each night, where I reflect on things that I am grateful for

I remember, during my childhood, my Mom would encourage me to list three things I felt happy about before I went to sleep. I believed that practice helped me have good dreams. Yeah, I know! But as I grew older, I found that practicing a bit of reflection, in the form of a “daily review” each night before going to sleep, can be very powerful for many reasons– ranging from identifying behaviors that you’re not too proud of engaging in and that you want to change, to noticing and appreciating the things you have to be grateful for.

Just about anything can be the source of gratitude on a given day. Even something like finding a good kids clothing store for my friend’s daughter who’s expecting her first baby, a phone call with a friend, kindness from a stranger who held the door open because my hands were full of bags, or simply the fact that I am alive – all of these count. All I need to do is take a moment to mindfully notice and appreciate.

Either way, my enjoyment and appreciation of life has been meaningfully enhanced by regularly reminding myself of what I have to be grateful for, instead of just being constantly distracted by things that I anyway have no control over. Certainly, better than before!

I am getting enough sleep, and safeguarding empowering routines and cycles

To a significant degree, our ability to thrive and appreciate each day has a lot to do with the routines and cycles we follow. I have been reading up a lot about sleep and diabetes.

During a long chat with a health expert, she explained that sleep is one of the fundamental areas where having good and consistent routines in place is essential, because our circadian rhythms are highly influenced by our regular bedtime, and by the light exposure we encounter at different times of day, in addition to when we eat our meals. Also, healthy circadian rhythms are associated with all sorts of positive health outcomes, whereas disrupted circadian rhythms are closely linked to a range of diseases and issues both physical and mental.

This is not news to most of us.

However, following good sleep routines is often a problem, at least for me because working late at night is oh so convenient – it is quiet, there are no doorbells, no phone calls and these are all plus points to getting a lot of work done.

Well, I do know that the same applies to the early morning hours and so, I am letting go of the temptation to watch “just 15 minutes” of that show or read “just 10 pages” of that novel. I am just switching off the light and closing my eyes because when we get enough good quality sleep, the world feels like a much brighter place. Definitely feels good when I wake up in the morning! I feel rather proud of myself for making this change and sleeping better than before.

I am making more time for things that I enjoy rather than being fixated on being constantly productive.

It’s important to be able to get things done, and to be productive when the time is right – but buying into the cult of hyper-productivity, and the supposed need to spend every minute of every day “hustling” or “grinding” tends to be a recipe for misery and frustration, as I have found out.

Rather than whine about how there’s hardly any time to do all the things I want to do, I have begun to MAKE more time for things that I find enjoyable and fulfilling. These include various side projects, and of course, sometimes just lounging on the couch with a book and letting myself drift away into day-dreamland.

While being active is important, I know that I really don’t need to be on the go all the time. I am very glad I am slowing down and it has been a positive experience, especially with the warm days of summer upon us.

To sum up

I am grateful for all the changes I’ve been making in my life this past month. My health has been decent; I’ve been enjoying long conversations with friends. Mostly, it has been a time for a lot of self-reflection and I feel much better than before. I’ve also read a lot of books this past month, thanks to all the lovely advance review copies I’ve been receiving. I’ll be posting reviews soon.

And oh, I am also enjoying planning my posts for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge which begins on 1 April. Regardless of whether I stick to the plan, the process is a very enjoyable one! Are you participating? Do let me know!

That’s it for now!

How has the past month been for you? Did anything to be or feel better than before?

I’d love to know!

Join me for the March 2021 Gratitude Circle blog hop!

Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

As always, please note:

To join the Gratitude Circle blog hop, you can write about anything that made you feel good. It is not mandatory to write about your personal life. Or list personal things you are grateful for.

You have the freedom to share anything that made you feel good. A happy event. Something you saw. An experience. A place. Something that brought you happiness. A lovely book you read that filled you with joy. Anything. I repeat – it need not be personal at all.

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1 comment

Mahati Ramya adivishnu April 3, 2021 at 9:16 am

I am exactly doing the same. Trying to slow down. Instead of being productive, enjoying the process of work/journey. Looking forward to your reviews and A2Z posts. Have a nice April.

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