Happy November BMI Crew!
Leading up to Thanksgiving, it’s time for our Attitude of Gratitude Challenge again. We invite you to write down what you are grateful for each time you’re at the studio and help us fill up our Gratitude Jar. Remember to put your name on the post-its too as each entry will count as a raffle ticket and we will do a drawing for a sur”prize” after Thanksgiving weekend!
Along with the gratitude theme, don’t miss Amy C Rad’s article titled Grateful November.
Our Good For You Recipe this month is a Butternut Squash Carbonara with Broccoli. This dish gives you the feel of a creamy cheesy comfort food while upping your veggie intake at the same time!
Looking for a meaningful holiday gift for your friends and family? Consider a BMI Fitness gift card. You decide on the amount and the lucky recipient can use it towards personal training or group fitness. Pick them up next time you’re at the studio or you can purchase e-gift cards at our online store.
P.S. We are grateful for every time you choose to step foot into our studio. We know it takes conscious effort, self-discipline and commitment. We appreciate you making that choice every single time!
BMI Fitness Team
Quote of the Month
Join Amy C Rad on Sunday November 11th for a FREE U-JAM Master Class at 9:30am. Even better, stay for the rest of the day and learn the skills to become an U-JAM instructor so you can help inspire others and changes lives one beat at a time! Click here to register for the instructor training. United We JAM!
Pound For Pink
Thanks to the generosity of our NorCal Pound Posse, we raised a total of $2,234 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at our Pound for Pink event! We couldn’t be more grateful for all of you who came to rock out and grub, along with all those who donated even though you couldn’t make it to the live event! 💕
Halloween Pound and 90-Min U-JAM Party!
Check out all the Boo-Tastic Costumes from our Halloween Pound and 90-min U-JAM parties! Who needs candies when you get treated to a rock concert and dance party? 👻
Good for You Recipe
This Butternut Squash Carbonara with Broccoli dish is the ultimate definition of healthy comfort food. It’s loaded with Vitamin A and C, and a great source of Calcium and Folate. Indulgence you can feel good about!
By: Amy Chang Radosevich, MA, ACSM, ACE, AFAA
Last month, we talked about how mindfulness can help us stay more present. Going into November - a month of giving thanks, it only seems appropriate to reflect on the concept of gratitude.
Gratitude is an ability to recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate what one has versus focusing on what one thinks he wants or needs. In a consumer driven world, it takes a conscious effort to cultivate and maintain an attitude of gratitude. I always find it most ironic that the biggest shopping day of the year falls on the day after Thanksgiving. I suppose it allows business owners who manage to get in the “black” on Black Friday something to be grateful about.
Why should we care about having an attitude of gratitude? The simple answer is that it makes us happier. In a book titled Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar, he calls happiness the ultimate currency that all humans are in pursuit of. Material wealth, on the other hand, is hard currency where many chase after because they think it could help them attain the ultimate currency. One interesting thing is if happiness, or the ultimate currency, is what we are after, there may be a much more direct route than working our butts off to get the next promotion or raise. One research study found that by keeping a gratitude journal for just 5 minutes a day, the journal group increased their long-term wellbeing by more than 10 percent. This percentage gain is equivalent to doubling our income! So, the real question comes down to what we are really after - big house, fancy car, or do we just want more sunshine and laughter in our lives? Now, I am not saying we can’t have or strive for both; I am only suggesting that hard currency is not necessarily a means to the ultimate currency.
To elaborate further, here are some reasons why gratitude makes us happier:
- Gratitude helps us put things into perspective and allows us to see the good and the bad in every situation. When we can see both sides of the coin, we become more objective and less likely to dwell on the negatives.
- Gratitude helps us realize and appreciate what we have and reduces our desire to want more.
- It makes us more likeable! Grateful people tends to be more optimistic, altruistic, spiritual and less envious, materialistic and self-centered. Enough said.
- It’s better for our health. The emotion or feeling of gratefulness triggers our parasympathetic, or relaxation response; thereby lowering our stress and help us eat and sleep better. There’s also a study that showed a group of Americans who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal for 11 weeks exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group. It maybe because if we are more grateful for our health, we are less likely to take it for granted and therefore tend to respect and take better care of our bodies.
Like anything worth having, it takes work. The sad truth is humans are not naturally hardwired to be grateful. But, gratitude is a skill that can be developed with consistent practice. By keeping a gratitude journal, we get to proactively acknowledge all that is well in our lives. It may seem hard at first because we often take all that we have already for granted. It’s as if they are in our blind spot so we have to consciously look for them. Also, to truly appreciate the things or the people we have, we need to be more specific about why we are grateful for them. For example, instead of dreading Monday mornings, why not be grateful that you got to wake up alive, smell the aroma of good coffee, have food in the fridge, a job to go to, a reliable mode of transportation to get you to work safely etc. etc. The reality is none of these things is a given for so many others. If on top of that, you have a close knit family, partner, extended family, kids and pets, then your life is already overflowing with abundance.
In my personal experience of keeping a gratitude journal, I found that it was easy to come up with things to be grateful for in the first week or two. After that, just like doing the same workouts over and over, it started to feel monotonous and I found myself repeating the same things and it became harder to motivate myself to continue. Here are some tips I found online that might help:
- Keep it fresh. Challenge yourself to find new things to be grateful for. The more we pay attention to our surroundings and people around us, the more we might discover. Also, get more specific. For example, instead of just writing “ I’m grateful for my family,” try “Today my kids helped me set the dinner table without me asking.” This approach will help us continue to find new grateful moments.
- Stay the course. Just like working out and healthy eating, some days we just don’t feel like it but if we choose to do it anyway, we always feel good in the end. When you feel exhausted at the end of the day and just want to check out, rally and pick up that journal anyway. You may find yourself getting a more restful night sleep as a reward. And if you just can’t muster up the energy at night to reflect, do it first thing in the morning and it can be the perfect jumpstart to your day. Find a time that works best for you to reflect and stick to it.
- Mix it up and make it fun. If writing in a journal is not your thing or gets old after a while, try voice memo, video, or start a gratitude jar like we do here at the studio and deposit your grateful notes like it’s a piggy bank and watch your savings grow!
- Make it social. Just like having a workout buddy can help you stay motivated and accountable, invite your family and friends to do it with you so everyone benefits. Pick a person each day or each week and write them a letter of gratitude to brighten their day.
Okay, I hope you will join me on this gratitude journey and I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comment section below. Before I sign off, I will leave you with this quote by Albert Einstein, “ There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
BEN SHAHAR, T., Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. 2007.