6 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude & Banish Stress

Gratitude 3Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have a positive attitude regardless of what’s happening around them?

Like most of us, these are folks that appreciate the good times.

AND, they also seem to be able to transform the negative and focus on the positive in the face of negativity, challenge, and conflict.

They see the good in difficult people, they look at challenges & mistakes as opportunities for growth, and they appreciate what they have, even in the face of loss.

As a result, these individuals tend to be much more capable of handling the daily stressors that life brings their way!

WHY? I believe it’s because of their perspective that EVERYTHING that happens to them is something to be grateful for.

Would you like to increase your capacity for optimism & gratitude?

Would you like to maintain a more positive attitude in your life, even in the face of significant stress?

Fortunately, an attitude of gratitude CAN be cultivated with a little practice!

Here are a 6 simple ways that you can cultivate gratitude and banish stress:

Look for the Gifts

Every single experience that life offers has something to teach you, even if it’s what’s NOT to do next time! At bare minimum, you can walk away feeling grateful for knowing what doesn’t work. 🙂

Beyond that, there are always other gifts to be found as well.

For example, with a little practice & intentional self-awareness around when you are feeling stressed out by life, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to transform a dis-empowering perspective into an optimistic, grateful attitude such as:

  • What’s the gift for me in this experience? (my personal favorite!)
  • What lessons am I learning that are of positive benefit to me?
  • What core values are missing (either on my part or someone else’s part) that need to be place next time?
  • What wisdom can I gain?
  • What can be done differently next time?

Basically, instead of “judging” the situation as good/bad, right/wrong, etc… you are “assessing” the situation so that you can learn and grow from it!

This attitude alone can greatly reduce stress and will definitely make you feel more grateful for the experience. Not only that but it’s a success mindset that will bring you MORE of what you desire!

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Consider writing about all that there is to be grateful for at least once a day in a gratitude journal.

You can even ask yourself the questions listed above to help you see the gifts in anything that didn’t go well and then document the lessons you’re learning in the form of gratitude!

One of my favorite things to do is to mentally picture everything I did throughout the day and find something to be grateful for in each experience.

I then write that down and now I have a beautiful book of good memories to reflect back upon! 🙂

Avoid Comparison & Self-Judgment

Let’s face it. We ALL make mistakes.

AND, the sad thing is that many people have a tendency to compare themselves to others and to judge, criticize, or blame themselves for their lack of “progress”.

Unfortunately, this is a very closed-minded approach because it’s not considering all the gifts, lessons, and wisdom that you are gaining! Not only that but if you’re beating yourself up, you’re going INCREASE stress and probably be pretty pessimistic.

If on the other hand, you regularly follow the previous recommendations for fostering gratitude & optimism, over time and with practice you’ll start to find more ease and grace showing up in your life.

AND, as you become more flexible, flowing, and open-minded in your perspective about your daily stressors, your life will start to flex, flow, and allow with ease too! 🙂

Practice Restorative Yoga for Stress Relief

In 15 minutes or less & with very little props or set up required, you can relax deeply & reset your nervous system with one of my favorite poses for managing stress!

Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani)

yoga-legs-up-wallBenefits: Reduces swelling & fatigue in the legs, reduces low back pain by sending fresh flow of blood & oxygen to the pelvic bowl/hips/low lumbar, naturally addresses hypertension, & greatly reduces stress by stimulating the relaxation response in your nervous system.

1. Bring one end of a yoga mat or the edge of a thick blanket to rest along the edge of a wall.
2. Sit on the floor on the end of the yoga mat or edge of the blanket with one shoulder near the wall & your thighs parallel to the wall.
3. Roll down onto your elbows & back as you swing your legs up the wall.
4. Flatten your back by kissing your belly into the spine & make sure your tailbone & buttocks are not lifted off the floor (move slightly away from the wall to ensure this if need be).
5. Keep your legs straight but relaxed & bring your arms to rest out to your sides with the palms face up.
6. Close your eyes (you may place a sandbag or scarf over the eyes to help you go inward) & take several long, slow breaths.
7. Allow yourself to let go & relax deeply for anywhere between 5 – 15 minutes (it may be helpful to set a timer!).
8. When done, bend your knees toward your chest & roll to one side.
9. Take your time getting up by taking in several more deep breaths in & coming back to a seated position when you are done.

Do Not Practice This Pose If:
You have a hiatal hernia
You are menstruating
You are more than 3 months pregnant or at risk for a miscarriage
You have sciatica pain

Use Essential Oils for Gratitude & Stress Relief

There are several essential oils that can be highly beneficial for providing relief from stress! My suggestion is to choose the ones that smell or make you feel best. Everyone is different and gratefully, there’s an essential oil to suit anyone’s needs!

The oils that have been shown to provide stress relief are as follows:

lavender, lemon, ylang ylang, bergamot, grapefruit, geranium, frankincense, & marjoram

In addition, the following blends that I LOVE & use regularly have also been found to be helpful:

Focusing Blend (InTune), Joyful Blend (Elevation), Calming Blend (Serenity), Massage Blend (AromaTouch), & Grounding Blend (Balance)

My absolute favorite & TOP recommendation from all of the above is the Grounding Blend, also known as “Balance”. I simply apply 2 drops a day topically* to either the back of my neck or the pads of my feet.  🙂

*NOTE: Please test for skin sensitivity & dilute with a carrier oil if necessary!

Jess Bonasso, otherwise known as The Self Care Goddess, empowers women & busy professionals to LOVE them SELF, their HEALTH, and their LIFE!

For more information, click HERE to learn about Jess OR call 720-333-6796 TODAY to schedule a *COMPLIMENTARY* Self Care Wellness Consult!

To receive daily inspiration on how to LOVE your SELF, your HEALTH, and your LIFE, be sure to follow me on social media! 🙂

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How to find sweetness in your bittersweet…

Shauna Niequist | Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Do you sometimes find the sadness and difficulties in life hard to bear?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find and appreciate the sweetness in your bittersweet?

Unexpectedly, I lost a dear friend and sweet goddess sister this week, reminding me of the bittersweetness that life sometimes has to offer.

You see, this dear friend of mine was given a prognosis of cancer with 6 months left to live over 2 years ago.

Amazingly, over the past 2 years I watched this amazing woman defy the doctors’ prognosis and heal herself of cancer!

I also watched her fall in love and find someone who cherished and adored her. In fact, their wedding was scheduled for this coming May.

About a week or so ago, my dear friend posted on her cancer blog that she was finally cancer free, happier than she’d ever been, and that the next time we’d be hearing from her was with the announcement of her wedding.

The last thing I expected was her passing.

Sadly, in less than a week of her last post her compromised immune system brought her down with pneumonia. Fighting for breath, she was admitted to the hospital where the doctors found an inoperable tumor on her lungs and within 3 days she passed.

This unexpected turn of events really rocked and shocked me.

On one hand, I am mourning her loss. Deep moments of grief and sadness have come over me. On the other hand, I have extreme gratitude over her being in my life and being able to spend time with her the last few moments of life on Monday before she passed.

I am also grateful to her husband for making the last year and last few moments of her life sacred and precious (by the way, they married the Friday before her passing!).

Upon leaving her room on Monday I left a goddess charm with her. On the back of the charm were the words “Your life is a sacred journey”.

Ahhhhh, yes. These words have been all I can think about this week.

The more I reflect, the more I realize that the legacy that we leave others, the lessons we pass on, and the empowering ripple effects we have on the world is what living a sacred life is all about.

It makes me want to be a better person.

My dear friend did that and now it’s my turn to do the same, so that I can honor her memory.

That same day at 4:44 pm I posted a tribute to my friend on Facebook, reflecting the impact she’s had on my life:

“This physical world has lost a sweet angel today.
To my dear, sweet friend! You will be forever in my heart, my soul, and my DNA.
Thank you for gracing me with your goddess energy, your grace, your wisdom, your lightness of being, and your presence.
Because of you I am a better woman.
Your elegance, compassion, humility, willfulness, intention, presence, surrender, and commitment to truth will inspire and motivate me to greatness for years to come!
I gladly receive these gifts you’ve given me and promise to nurture them within myself each day through my own spiritual practice.
Thank you, sweet sister.
I have seen through you what it means to be in love and in service, walking a path of truth and surrender.
I hope when my time comes I will be cherished, adored, and loved as much as you, dear friend.
You are pure goddess energy now and free to fly!

This tribute and my commitment to live a sacred life in her honor is what helps me find the sweetness in my bittersweet.

And so to you, dear reader, I’d like for you to consider for yourself the answer to the following two questions:

What can you do to welcome in sweetness when life hands you the bitterest of lemons?

And, how can YOU live your life as a sacred journey?

Be careful. The answer to these two questions just might make life your sacred and sweet. 🙂

5 Tips for Finding Balance in Chaotic Times

Balance Do you ever find it difficult to find balance during chaotic times?!

Keeping calm, cool, and collected in the face of chaos can certainly make life feel easier but let’s face it, this is sometimes easier said than done! 🙂

So do you do it? How can YOU find balance when overwhelmed by the chaos?

Well, first I think it’s important to question your definition of the word “balance”.

Does it mean staying calm, cool, and collected ALL the time?

If so, you might be setting yourself up for unnecessary overwhelm and disappointment.

WHY? Because your expectation to feel that way ALL the time means balance can never be achieved.

If that’s the case, than balance as a concept is really just a myth!

Instead, what if balance was more about your ability to know when you’re out of balance and your ability to quickly course-correct and get back on track? 

With this in mind, I’d like to share a short 5 minute video I created this month with 5 Tips for Finding Balance in Chaotic Times!

Simply click on the video link below:

5 Tips for Finding Balance in Chaotic Times

I hope you’ll en-JOY and find these tips useful for helping you find balance when you need it the most!

As always… here’s to embracing your greatness! 🙂

Jess in Red

    Peace, love, & light…

Jess Signature


…empowering YOU to LOVE yourself & your life!