Summertime, summertime… What better time is there than half-way through the year to check in with ourselves, reflect and assess where we are in terms of GRATITUDE? Summer is perhaps the ultimate season to connect with nature; build bonds during family vacations; and engage in physical activity. In these ways and more, we can fully realize our feelings of appreciation. We don’t need to wait for the holidays to be thankful.
Why don’t we pause, then, and take a look at our commitments to gratitude— or even our goals in that respect? In what ways can we tap-into gratitude, particularly during this time of year? How we can we embrace and embody thankfulness in the here and now?
Consider first that summer is an ideal time to be mindful— when we’re less caught up in the commotion of work and daily life. Throughout these longer days, we can truly appreciate each moment and find our inner peace. With Mother Nature calling us outdoors to relax or play, with school out and family getaways, it’s certainly the perfect opportunity to celebrate every minute. It’s months after the holidays have passed, so ask yourself, “Am I grateful now?” “How can I cultivate gratitude this time of year?” Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can do just that:
- Nature & Weather: Are you appreciating the sun that beams at you and warms your skin and mood? Are you basking in nature’s majesty: passing a richly-hued flower under an azure sky, or feeling the sand between your toes? It’s so easy to celebrate nature, spending summer days at the beach, soaking in the negative ions, or walking through the shady, lush woods. Even when it’s muggy and extremely hot, we can be thankful for cooling water; the earth that provides sumptuous summer fruits and veggies; or time spent swinging in a hammock under an umbrella…And on rainy summer days, we can get organized at home, watch a great movie, or play board games, while we’re soothed by the pitter patter on the window panes. We can revel in all of these summertime moments, recognize the power of nature, and possess nothing but gratitude for them.
- Family Vacation: Let’s be thankful that we usually have the ability to take a break from the hustle to travel near or far. Whether we lounge at the shore, or take in the sights, sounds and tastes of other cultures, our family dynamic shifts on vacation and there’s time to connect in meaningful ways.
- Physical Activities: The sky’s the limit—literally and figuratively! There are few activities that are not made for summertime. With summer here, we can get outside to run and romp…or simply stroll meditatively, if we like. We can exercise with family, friends or solo. We can hike and bike; we can zip, bungie and slide; we can splash and play for the benefit of body, soul and mind. Let’s be ever so grateful that summer opens so many doors for us to enjoy—literally and figuratively!
All of the above might beg the question: How can we maintain and support gratitude year round? Well, no matter what the season, pretty much any true expression of compassion, kindness and thankfulness is helpful and healing. But also, since appreciation comes so easily in the summertime, we can hold on to these feelings and emotions and stow away awesome summer memories to unpack in a few months when the air chills and we hunker down.