Daily Gratitude

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.

Throughout this blog I have talked about some of my new daily healthy habits I have incorporated during these last 8 months. One of my habits is writing down three things I am grateful for. It is one of the first things I do in the morning before taking on the rest of my day. Often times, we focus on what we don’t have in life or we can get in the mindset of comparing our lives to others. I can not stress how toxic of a mental state that is and hence why social media can be so destructive for modern day mental health. It is extremely easy for people to feel insecure in a world of social media highlight reels. You have to disconnect regularly. It is so crucial, yet difficult because we have everything at our finger tips, literally! Learn to disconnect to reconnect.

Three Things I am Grateful for Today (10/22/20):

  • My health
  • My family (and dogs!)
  • My personal relationships

These don’t need to be wordy or complex. Do not over think these, for there are no right or wrong answers! They have apps for daily gratitude. A popular one is called, “Five Minute Journal” which is AWESOME. I highly recommend checking it out if you need some structure to start out with. I used this from March until end of May, but then moved to pen and paper. There is something about hand writing my daily gratitude list. It is almost like the ink to the paper makes these things manifest more. Writing these things down disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions that we sometimes focus on as human beings. This is normal, do not beat yourself up over having these thoughts. Train your mind to be like a flowing river of thoughts. Don’t hang on the highs for too long, don’t hang on the lows for too long. Let the thoughts flow.

Expressing gratitude has a ton of benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Increase in happiness and mood. Enhance positive emotions
  • More satisfaction through day to day life
  • Helps celebrate the present
  • Strengthen your social ties with relationships and self-worth (self-esteem)
  • Improves health, both physical and psychological

Get into the daily habit of this. It only takes a few minutes of your 24 hour day and the upside of life improvement is tremendous. It is a fantastic investment in your mental health growth. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish the good experiences, improve health, deal with adversity and help build strong relationships. Try this everyday for two weeks and you will see a difference.

Grateful for your time and for finishing my blog!

A Runner’s Experience

It was one year ago from today when I ran my first Half Marathon in Brooklyn 2019. It was a cold, but crisp fall morning. I had never run a half marathon in my life before. I had only seen basic betch instagram’s of guys and girls my age running through the streets of NYC or Boston while their friends hold up signs. This isn’t a humble brag, but I am a relatively “popular” kid. This is ironic because NO ONE was there to support me when I crossed the finish line. My friends would’ve came if I had asked them to, but this wasn’t about social status or for anyone else. This was about myself and personal pride.

As an ex Division 1 athlete, running was never my thing. I HATED it. “Hate” is such a strong word, so maybe I really fucking despised running. I think this also stemmed from the fact that it was always a chore. I was always forced to run. It was never a luxury or a personal freedom of choice. I strongly believe this factor had a huge part in it.

One of my friends, who is extremely into fitness and nutrition recommended that I join this running challenge with him for the month of September. It’s a “Mile-a-Day Challenge” for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The concept is simple, you run a mile a day for everyday in the month of September. Build daily healthy habit of lacing of the kicks and putting them to the pavement. I am not a fan of “30 Day Challenges” because what’s the point if you’re going to go back to your old ways after it? I am a believer however of using those 30 day challenges to help build daily healthy habits in which you can accumulate gains and personal growth off of. This is exactly what I did.

Not going to lie, I got a bit cocky around the mid mark of September after lacing up the shoes and running every single day. I decided to look into Half Marathons near me given I am in the biggest city in the country. I saw that there was a Brooklyn Half Marathon on October 19th, 2019 and I was like… this is it. I AM DOING THIS. I adjusted my running routine a bit… running for more than 5KS (3.10miles) a day and going for at least 8 miles a clip every time I put those shoes on because I knew on that Saturday October 19th, I was going to need to reach 13.1 miles.

Despite the rough start of leaving my official runner’s bib in the Starbucks, I showed up in the Brooklyn that morning, the energy was surreal. It felt like I was lining up in a tunnel for an NFL game. So much diversity… men and women from all parts of the world. Remember, NYC has a ton of foreigners, all ages as well. I had my shoes laced up (custom Kids for Kids yellow laces), my leggings tight, my long sleeve fit, and my running bib in check. I was really about to run my first half marathon! I ended up crushing it and it was one of the greatest achievements of my life. There was no one at the finish line (I met up with friends that afternoon, please don’t think I’m throwing a pity party), but being able to look up after conquering those 13.1 miles was such a great accomplishment. I had a smile from ear to ear. I had done it.

With 2020 circumstances of large group gatherings, there have been no communal marathon / half marathon runs, BUT… I do plan on running a 10 mile run THIS Saturday. October 23rd. Again, no other reason than for myself and pure accomplishment. I have been having an awesome October with my running practice. I am at 32.70 miles this month! One day at a time. One run at a time.

Internal Mirror

2020 has been quite the year. Being in universal quarantine has given not just myself, but the whole world a time to really look at yourself in the mirror and self reflect on the last _ years of your life. You find out what has worked. You find out what hasn’t worked. You find out what tools you are going to use moving forward to come out of this pandemic stronger and a better version of yourself.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself over the last month?

Don’t just read that above question out loud. Really think and sit on that for a bit. Challenge yourself.

2020 has truly taught us the value of “time”. Kobe Bryant’s sudden death that shocked the world has heighted this value that we sometimes don’t always take the TIME (no pun intended) to stop and think about the concept. I have made it a point to know the true value of time. Life is too short to linger on problems and lose your courage over.

This Coronavirus is fucking horrible, BUT you have to find the small silver linings in tough situations like this virus has handcuffed us in. This virus has taught us the meaning of our priorities in life and what is truly important as we go through our day to days. Health, family and friends are just three of the many things in our life to be grateful for and not a day should go by where these are looked over or taken for granted(above paragraph for reference). We as a society have come to appreciate this more during the global lockdown. Crazy what can be taken away from you at any point in time. Even your own freedom to eat a damn burger inside!

So to answer the originally question, What is something you’ve learned about yourself over the last month?

I have learned to love myself more. I have learned to prioritize my health both physically and mentally. Using tools that were always there in my arsenal, but never seemed to utilize. I learned to put on my running shoes, chuck the airpods in (no free ads) and go for a run after work to decompress and compartmentalize my work days. This assures me that if I have a bad day at the office, I don’t bring it home with me and let it affect my 5:30pm on. I have learned to drink less with a conscious focus on moderation. The toxic social cycle of drinking two days a week and then going out heavy every weekend takes a massive toll on you mentally.

Like running, I have used the art of yoga to not only help me physically, but mentally AND spiritually. The work I put in on the mat gets reflected off the mat. I am not only benefiting myself, but everyone I interact with after! A true win win for everyone involved in my life. I find myself running around a lot (especially mentally), so yoga gives me an excellent carved out space in my day to slow my mind down and focus on being present in the flow practice. Also don’t hate the fact that I can feel myself becoming more flexible by the day! Yoga has so many benefits and I can’t recommend “Yoga with Adriene” enough (Check out her YouTube page). I have seen an increase in muscle strength and tone, better respiration and energy, and even a better sense of improved athletic performance. It pairs very well with my running practice.

Some people hate this year and the number sequence of “2020” gives them PTSD already, but I have enjoyed this time of self reflection. I strongly believe that I have become and will come out of this time a much better version of myself than I came in with.

2020 isn’t over yet, go finish it out strong and build daily healthy habits!