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Morning Gratitude: Well-Being Practice

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This is the suggested Well-Being Practice for week five of the challenge. If this practice does not work for you (for whatever reason), then you can choose from one of our 3 Foundational Well-Being Practices. If you are a veteran player or these three practices are not new to you, then feel free to select from our comprehensive list of Well-Being Practices.

This Week We’re Practicing Morning Gratitude

Simple Instructions:

  1. Within an hour of waking, make a list of things you are grateful for.
  2. If you do this while still in bed, making a mental list is fine.
  3. If you do this as a part of your morning routine, write your list in a journal or another place you’ve created to capture each day’s list.
  4. Only give yourself credit for this practice if you do it within one hour of waking. While gratitude is valuable at any time of the day, this practice is as much about setting up your day in an intentional way as it is about gratitude.

Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Is This Practice Important?

The day starts. Sun just breaking the horizon, birds singing, and peaceful quiet hanging in the air. Oh, how wonderful the start of the day is.

Yeah. As if.

For many of us, the day often starts dark, earlier than we’d like, and coupled with things that other people need from us. But that doesn’t have to be what dictates your whole day.

You’re not doomed to starting the day in tenth place, hoping to claw your way up to fifth or sixth before the day ends. If you want, you can start the day in first place, with your own mental sunrise, your own internal bird song, and your own sense of peace that hangs in the air — all day long.

There is a lot to be grateful for. I mean, really, I don’t even have to go outside my house to find more things I’m grateful for than I can count. These could be little things. My life could be much harder if someone didn’t make sure there was coffee or toilet paper in the house. Getting out of bed would be much worse without the heater.

And if I want to be grateful for something as big as that someone lying next to me, then it never hurts for me to take a moment to be grateful that she’s the one who got up an hour ago and fed the baby.

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I always used to think that gratitude was something like this forced exercise of love and light. For me, it had this sense of needing to find things that were ”magical.”

Not that the things for which we’re grateful can’t be magical — but, man, am I grateful for those plain, simple, everyday things I just mentioned. Those things have me wake up and know my life is so good it hurts. Waking up remembering those things starts me off on a much better foot than grumbling about what time it is.

We can each find either kind of life in the one we’re currently living — one that’s hard and full of unfairness or one we actually want to live, where people (even people we’ll never meet) pave the way for us to take advantage of all the good things life has to offer.

Therefore, this week’s Well-Being Practice of morning gratitude is about choosing the day (and the life) you want to live.

For More on This Practice

Dr. H. Ron HulnickIn one of his podcast’s, Andy spoke with Dr. H. Ron Hulnick, a pioneer and worldwide leader in the field of spiritual psychology. What is spiritual psychology and what does it have to do with gratitude?

Click through to listen to the podcast for the full answers to those questions, but the short answer is that your own self-worth and self-value are deeply linked to your experience of life — and love really is the key to everything.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.