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Magical Exercise

As a wellness coach, I often talk to clients about their exercise habits. But of all exercises, one stands out as a daily must. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. It can be done anytime, anywhere, and no one will know you are doing it unless you tell them. (No, it is not butt squeezes!) It is the most transformative of any exercise. In fact, this exercise will change your life faster than anything else you can possibly do. Are you ready?

Get out your journal, a notebook or a plain piece of paper and jot down everything you’re grateful for. Start with the basics like food, shelter, clothing and transportation. How about family, friends, a beloved pet? Dig a little deeper. Have you experienced healing from a serious illness or the restoration of an important relationship?

When you run out of the obvious, look around for the small blessings in life: that beautiful bird singing outside your window, the sunrise, the store clerk who helped you today or the person who slowed down to let you in traffic… Instead of focusing on all the bad things happening in the world, start looking for the good.

Of course, it’s easy to give thanks when everything’s coming up roses. But how can we feel grateful when confronted with life’s thorns? It comes down to practice.

Few people go to the gym simply to be able to bench press 100 pounds, run four miles on a treadmill or do three sets of squats, but rather to have energy and strength to carry a sleepy child to bed, unload the groceries, do the yard work, play sports or climb stairs… Exercise is simply the tool we use to get more of what we want out of life.

In the same way, practicing gratitude is a workout for our souls. Just as physical exercise improves strength and stamina, repeated awareness of our blessings builds our happiness muscles. Condition yourself to look at the brighter side of life and it will only get brighter.

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