The time for gratitude is now | Health column

Being grateful for the present and focusing on what you have versus what you don’t have is the key to mindfulness.

  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:30am
  • Life

By Allison Apfelbaum

Special to the Reporter

There is no better time than the new year to start fresh with your goals. The chaotic holiday season is now over and you can reset, relax, and get some rest. What have you been putting off this year and meaning to accomplish for yourself? We always spend plenty of time living for the future and reflecting on the past, but there is no better time to start your goals than right now.

Being truly grateful for the present moment and focusing on what you have versus what you don’t have is the key to mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you appreciate your life instead of complaining. It can also help you engage with yourself so you stop procrastinating. Forget all of the excuses as to why you cannot achieve your goals right now. If you have wanted to lose weight, start your healthy diet now. If you have been meaning to write a book or take up a new hobby, start now. Forget any excuse as to why you can’t start, just do it.

The key to staying happy and joyful is to connect with yourself in the present moment. Think of something you are truly grateful for in your life, now say to yourself how thankful you are to have that person or thing. Being truly grateful creates and attracts more joy to you. Think of a situation in which you are frustrated. Now try to think about something you can be grateful for that involves that situation. Being mindful and engaged in your life can truly change the perspective completely.

Another helpful way to stay engaged in the present moment is to avoid electronics. Screen time from phones, computers and TV suck away your precious time. Think about this, Beyoncé has the same hours in a day as you, she just uses her time more efficiently. If you want to be productive, use your time intentionally. Pencil in your meal prepping once a week. Plan to workout three days a week, schedule the time at the beginning of the week. When you plan for success, it is easier to keep the commitment.

When using time efficiently, this applies to spending time around loved ones. Family and friends are your support system, make sure you engage with them. This means staying present, listen when they talk, have compassion and make a connection. Making connections with others can lessen loneliness and increase joy. Think about how you can give back to others, not just about what you aren’t getting for yourself. When you give back to others you will receive back double. Try to stay grateful for those social connections, you never know when they may end.

Make the new year an engaged, connected and joyous one. Stay present, engaged, and have gratitude for every moment even the ordinary ones.

Allison Apfelbaum is a naturopathic doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville. To learn more go to www.treeofhealthmedicine.com or call 425-408-0040 to schedule an appointment.

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