November is in full swing and that also means social media feeds are chock full of posts professing daily thanks for the length of the month. This is a great practice, but to this I say:
Why not 365 days of thanks?
Any day is a good day to practice gratitude. We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving creeps up on us to start acknowledging blessings big or small. Here is a post I wrote a little while back about running with gratitude that I thought would be great to recycle.
Often, we talk about the stress relieving benefits of running. A long run or an intense workout can be just what we need to work through frustration, anxiety, or grief. It’s true that running is a (cheaper) form of therapy, but it’s not all about the endorphins or distraction. Sometimes that therapy comes in the powerful form of positive affirmation that the act of running can magnify. Acknowledgement of life’s simple pleasures and abundant gifts can lift the spirits and make our hearts (and legs) feel lighter.
Without question, running has helped me release many burdens. Even more so, it has encouraged me to count my blessings, appreciate my body, and lift my spirit. When I run with a grateful heart, my whole experience changes. On days where blessings seems to multiply, I hold my head up higher, feel lighter on my feet, and seem to move through the miles with greater ease.
There doesn’t need to be a major celebration or event to be able to acknowledge the things we are thankful for. If I asked you to list 3 things you are grateful for in this moment, what would you say? Go ahead, do it. I’ll wait.
It can come in the form of a sunny day, a snuggle from a pet, hitting all of the green lights on the way to work, a kind gesture, coming home to your family, being in good health. It could even be a smile from another runner on the road, tip you learned from a pro athlete, a new personal record, a congratulatory handshake from a competitor at the finish line. Or maybe it’s the first run back from an injury, your feet tapping beneath you, your legs carrying you forward, the gift of mobility.
Gratitude can transform the way we run, much in the same way that it transforms our lives. When we run with gratitude, there is no such thing as a bad run. We are no longer held back by negativity or weighed down with burdens. We are light, fast, free. We become one with the road or trail, our footsteps drumming a steady beat as the miles fall away. Run with a heart of gratitude and you’ll travel further than you ever thought you could.
Now, I challenge you to consider starting a daily practice of gratitude where you name at least one thing you are grateful for in that day. Just one. That’s all it takes.