It has become apparent to me that within the past few weeks several of my clients have been in a “rut”, and it’s something that I touched upon last week when I answered an online coaching client’s question about getting out of a bad cycle of eating. You can read the post here.
Perhaps I’m looking far too into this, but I have often felt that when I’m going through a rut, that my clients, oddly, do too. Now, there is such a thing as energy transference, which I will write about in a future post, but when you work with people on a deep intimate level, thoughts, feelings, and emotions can be exchanged even if you are no where near each other.
It’s that same ESP skill our mothers’ have when she knows we’re up to no good, or the bond two close friends share: “Oh my god! I was just thinking of you when you texted!” So, I couldn’t help but notice the trend in my clients since I, myself, have been a little “off” lately.
Side note: The picture to the right is from one of my favorite places on the web, the Institute of HeartMath, which states that the heart’s electromagnetic field expands several feet outside of the body and is about 60 times greater than the brain. So, those vibes that you pick up on when you meet someone? Yeah, they really do exist, and which I strongly believe, can affect the emotions and behaviors of other people.
Anywho, I just wrapped up a monthly coaching session with a client who’ve I’ve been working with for the past 4 months, and who’s had amazing results. She’s lost 15 lbs., has learned to cook for herself, and may even be taking up roller derby. How bad ass is that?
Although she is still making progress, she mentioned that she just felt like she was in a “rut”, that she lost some steam and sorta kinda didn’t really care anymore. As she said this, I was shaking my head to myself as I have been feeling similar and hearing similar things from other clients. We then came up with some ways on how to get out of a rut.
When you’re in a rut, you’re in a pattern of negative thinking, and like a virus, this negativity can spread and infect other areas of your life.
If you’ve been pissy about your boss at work, that pissy-ness can carry over to your personal life, your love life, your family life, and before you know it, you feel like your whole life sucks. All because of one little thing.
Negativity is not all bad though. In fact, negative thoughts and feelings can be a very positive thing. You see, whenever feelings of negativity arise, it is just a reflection of the things that we care about and want in life. Jealous that you are seeing so many couples walk around hand in hand? That’s all right, just means that’s what you want, and that you value companionship and partnership.
Or the bitch took your boyfriend, and you’re about to bust a cap in someone’s ass.
Either way, the negative feelings are reflecting something positive.
Before you allow your rut to infiltrate other innocent areas of your life, you gotta nip that shit in the bud. And one way to do that is by practicing gratitude.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation that is heart-felt and sincere.
Gratitude is that feeling of relief when your friend picks you up when your car breaks down or when you’re roommate is home to let you in because you locked yourself out; not the lame “thank you” you made to your mom as a kid just to get her off your back.
Instead of focusing on how to get rid of negative feelings, focus on filling your head with feelings of gratitude, and soon, there won’t be any space for pissy-ness. That’s how gratitude works to help you get out of a rut.
When we practice gratitude we remind ourselves of what’s good in our lives, what we do have, and what we have accomplished. We remind ourselves of the friends we have, the family that’s there to support us, and the fact that chocolate and bacon exist.
By practicing gratitude we trick our own brains into thinking more positive thoughts. I think the saying “just think positively” is lame and far too vague for most people to actually take action with. However, when you start by recalling what you are thankful for, you are giving yourself precise directions. Not just some arbitrary command that doesn’t provide a ton of guidance.
When we practice gratitude, it puts us in the space with positive thoughts, and these positive thoughts make us feel good, and it is when we feel good, that we can get through a rut.
How to Practice Gratitude
There are two ways that you can start practicing gratitude, and I describe them for you below. Like learning a new skill, gratitude must be practiced, it must be consistent for it to have long term effects. As with any new habit, getting started may take more work at first, but once you have the ball rolling, it’s much easier to maintain, similar to starting on a new workout routine.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
At the end of each night right before you fall asleep, take a few minutes like 2-3, to write down 5 things that you are grateful for, and make this a habit every night.
What you write doesn’t have to be super deep; It could be something as simple as, the fact you have laundry in your basement, or a friend, or the fact that you have a place to stay.
You can keep a separate notebook for this as your Gratitude Journal, add it to an existing journal you keep, or as I did recently download a $.99 app called the Gratitude Journal, which you can set alarms for to remind you to journal at the end of each day.
The picture on the right is a screen shot of the Gratitude Journal app that I started using this week. It’s a very simple interface which allows you to keep add pictures, bookmark, and email your journals to yourself. You can check out the website here.
2. Practice saying thank you.
It’s such a simple act but often doesn’t get done enough. We know enough, or least I hope we do, to say thank you in exchange for a kind act or service, like if your friend picks up the tab for lunch or helps with a favor.
But what about saying thank you for no reason at all? Like, texting or calling up a friend and saying how much you appreciate them just because?
Or go old-school and send a letter, or a card, or super old school and send a telegram…
Regardless of how you say it, get in the practice of saying thank you and expressing your gratitude without intially being prompted to do so.
Thank any and everything, your friends, your family, your roommates, the bus driver, the park in your neighborhood, your local ice cream shop…I think you get the picture.
Again, like the gratitude journal, the purpose of practicing thank you puts you into a space of positive thinking, which then helps your body feel better, and which gives you the umpf climb out of your rut.
We all get stuck in ruts from time to time and I’ve been taking my practice of gratitude more seriously just in case mine is affecting my clients, or vice versa. Practicing gratitude, whether in a journal or on your iPhone, along with saying thank you just because, puts you in positive frame of mind, which, if you continue to practice, will leave less room for the pissy-ness and help you to get out of a rut.
If you feel like you could use some help and guidance, the next Lean Body Challenge can help! The Challenge is a 28 day online coaching program that focuses on making nutrition and lifestyle changes so that you can get on a healthier living plan. It may be just the thing you need to help you get out of a rut. To get more details, click here.