Attitude of Gratitude

Being Grateful and Feeling Content

Every year during the season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, we all focus a little extra on feeling grateful.  Throughout the holidays we get into the spirit of giving, loving one another, and feel thankful for all of the blessings in our life.  This time of year, blessings may come in waves or a Chrsitmas miracle may find its way into your life. However, once the fun ends or the day has passed, we may not all feel the overwhelming presence of gratitude.  Maybe this time of year you’re not exactly where you want to be in life or perhaps things aren’t really going your way as this season can bring different hardships. 

 In this week’s blog, I’ll be discussing gratitude and contentment and what those two words realistically look like in our daily lives.

If a friend were to ask me to list specific things I’m grateful for, it would be an easy list to come up with.  I would say…

  • I’m grateful for shelter and the home I get to live in.
  • I’m grateful for the endless amounts of food I have at my disposal.
  • I’m grateful for the higher education I am currently receiving. 
  • I’m grateful for the multiple jobs I have to make a living. 
  • I’m grateful for having a healthy and able body.
  • I’m grateful for my freedoms and the protection my country provides. 
  • I’m grateful for friends and family. 

… Just to name a few as the list could go on and on.

Now if the same friend asked why I’m grateful for those things, that would be an easy question to answer as well.  I would say… 

  • I’m grateful for shelter and the home I get to live in because I know so many people are homeless and don’t have a warm or safe place to stay. 
  • I’m grateful for the endless amounts of food I have at my disposal because not everyone has access to any amount of clean and nutritious food or even food at all. 
  • I’m grateful for the higher education I am currently receiving because so many people don’t get the opportunity to learn or get an education. 
  • I’m grateful for the multiple jobs I have to make a living because I know so many others struggle to make ends meet or are unable to get a job to provide for themselves or their family.
  • I’m grateful for having a healthy and able body because so many others are sick or disabled. 
  • I’m grateful for my freedoms and the protection my country provides because I know others live in a hostile, dangerous, or war stricken country with no place to feel safe.  
  • I’m grateful for friends and family because I know many others have had a loved one pass away or are currently lacking a loving support system.

Now what if that same friend asked me how long my gratitude lasts or how often the feeling of gratefulness washes over me?

Well, there lies the problem.  All of those times of gratitude are short lived or based upon something or someone else’s condition.  I don’t think anyone has a problem of feeling grateful when you compare yourself or your life circumstances to people at war, or others who are homeless, or those who go with eating only one meal a day, or someone who’s suffering from a serious life threatening health condition.  It’s an easy assumption to make that we all feel appreciative or thankful for what we have, looking at those different situations

The challenge however, is feeling grateful for what we have when we compare ourselves to others who have more.  It’s funny how our gratitude and full hearts slowly begin to disappear when you step into someone’s brand new glamorous home, or when you walk through the mall and see all of the “must haves” in trending winter fashion.

If we were to add a “dot, dot, dot” after each thing we are grateful for, it might go a little like this:

  • I’m grateful for the higher education I am currently receiving because so many people don’t get the opportunity to learn or get an education…but I wish I was smarter and could get A’s in all my classes to pass with honors and guarantee a job after graduation.  
  • I’m grateful for the multiple jobs I have to make a living because I know so many others struggle to make ends meet or are unable to get a job to provide for themselves or their family…but I wish I was manager of my team so I could have a higher paying job and afford a wealthy lifestyle.  
  • I’m grateful for having a healthy and able body because so many others are sick or disabled…but I wish I looked like that super fit girl/guy I see in the gym all the time and had a better body.

This is where change needs to happen to live a truly and continuously grateful life.  I think we all need to work on finding contentment with gratitude rather than just little bursts of gratitude here and there. 

If we can work towards being grateful despite who or what we’re comparing ourselves to, then we can develop a more deep and real sense of gratitude that lasts instead of the short lived gratefulness that comes when we make a comparison to others with less  or the feeling we get when we reflect on our life/accomplishments each year. 

I think it’s also beneficial to point out that contentment doesn’t mean you don’t have goals or things you’re striving to change in your life.  It simply means not allowing your “wants” to take over and not letting your “dot, dot, dots” keep you from your sense of gratitude. 

As we all focus on gratitude this holiday season, it’s important to also focus on contentment too.  It’s not just about being grateful for what you have that others don’t. It’s more about being grateful for what you have in spite of what others have that you don’t. 

Gratitude and contentment challenge: Pay attention to what steals your gratitude in each moment and make an effort to feel grateful and content with you and you alone when it’s the most difficult. 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As always, stay fit, stay healthy, stay beautiful Warhawks.

Talk soon,

Ashley Borowski


Four Healthy Habits for Your Morning Routine

There is a common saying that goes “morning intentions are the best intentions” which means the purpose of your morning is the best and most important purpose or goal of your day.  How you start your morning has a huge influence on how the rest of your day will play out. I’m not just talking about the classic “eat a good, healthy breakfast” or “make sure you get plenty of sleep” although those do serve a good purpose.  I’m talking about how purposefully you wake up every morning and start your day. What habits do you have? What actions do you take? How do you feel in the morning? All things that have an impact on our mind, body, and attitude.  

In this weeks blog, I will be sharing four helpful habits for your morning routine to hopefully improve your physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual health.

Healthy Habit #1: A glass of hot water or green tea with lemon

First thing you should do when you wake up in the morning is to get a mug of hot water or tea with a wedge of lemon in it.  Doing this right away in the morning kicks off your day being hydrated which is very important all throughout the day. It also is a great source of vitamins, specifically vitamin C, and nutrients if you add green tea.  The hot water and lemon also kick starts your metabolism which is good for digestion and calorie burn all day.

Healthy Habit #2: Meditation/Prayer/Yoga

Many people underestimate the power of reflection, mindfulness and gratitude.  Whether you choose to lead a spiritual life or not, creating time for yourself at the beginning of the day to focus on your thoughts and awareness of your body is very important.  Some suggestions to do this would be listening to motivational, inspirational, spiritual podcasts in the morning as you’re getting ready for your day. Another may be putting on some instrumental music and taking 15 minutes to meditate.  One other may be coming to 6:30am group fitness yoga on Wednesdays during the week. You don’t have to try all of them, or do it every single day but slowly integrating something into your morning to be intentional about your body and mind is very influential. 

Healthy Habit #3: Positive self-affirmations

You might be reading this and thinking, really, Ashley?  This is so not for me. And sure, it might not be, but don’t knock it till you try it!  In a world where so many things suck the life out of you like work, school, family, friends, media, etc. it’s important to feed positive energy back into your brain and body.  Writing or saying allowed positive self affirmations is one great way to do that. Being appreciative of yourself, your body, your mind, and feeding yourself “good vibes” is food for your soul. Check out the link at the end for some affirmation ideas!

Healthy Habit #4: Not being on your phone when you wake up in the morning

When you wake up in the morning, what is your immediate, unconscious reaction?  It’s to check your phone, right? You pick up your phone and check your unread messages, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  to see what you missed in the last 5-8 hours of sleep. To better start your morning, instead of waking up each day worrying what the world is bringing you rather think about what you want to bring to the world.   

I hope you enjoyed these four healthy habits for your morning routine!  If you ever try out any of these remedies make sure to tag @warhawkfitness!

As always, stay fit, stay healthy, stay beautiful, Warhawks!

Talk soon, 

Ashley Borowski

Check out more information here:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-of-lemon-water#hydration

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-shouldnt-check-your-phone-first-thing-in-the-morning-2016-5

https://theblissfulmind.com/2018/10/07/positive-affirmations-list/

You Are What You Eat!

Food! Everyone loves food.  It not only tastes good but it’s also good for our body as it is the driver of your day.  Food provides you with carbohydrates, nutrients, and many more things so your body can turn it into fuel to help you successfully get through the day.  However, your biggest pleasure in food may also be your greatest weakness.  

The term “you are what you eat” has been a classic saying for years on end.  It’s something parents would tell their kids to indirectly convince them to eat better and/or choose healthier food choices.  And like most parents, still to this day, they are right.

Food and nutrition is so important for keeping your body young, active and healthy.  In today’s world where every food choice seems to be processed, deep fried, covered in sugar, or battered with bread or cheese (especially living in Wisconsin), it’s hard to differ good from bad and right from wrong.  It’s especially difficult to flip or change your eating habits after so many years of doing the same thing or even trying to choose healthy food options while on a budget (because it’s so fun being a broke college student).  

Many people are caught up in these dieting programs or are just completely lost on where to start when looking to begin a healthier lifestyle.  Well, here’s how to make it super simple: eat less calories than you burn on a daily basis. That simple. Less in, more out. I know what you’re probably thinking… okay Ashley, but how do I do that successfully?  Here’s how:

  1. Work out at best for an average of an hour/day or at least a few times a week.  Make half the workout high intensity or low intensity cardio to somehow break a sweat to burn calories faster and the other half strength based.  Like Shawn-T always says, “time to sweat, people!”
  2. When grocery shopping for food for the week, plan out your meals in advance so 1) You don’t waste food.  2) You don’t waste money and buy more than you need. And 3) This way you are already making healthy decisions for food so you’re not aimlessly wandering in the store, tempted by all the good looking snacks. 
  3. KEY point: Fill your grocery cart AND your meal plate with at least half fruits and vegetables.  Raw, perishable food is always going to be the freshest and best for you. The more packaged or long lasting it is, generally the worse it is for you.  It is also extremely important to check nutrition facts/labels to see what percentages of nutrients are in the food and what type of ingredients they are using.  
  4. Always start with fresh fruit and vegetables at the beginning of every meal so you fill up on the most natural and nutritious foods for you.  If you don’t like raw vegetables, cook them in a certain way so you do. If you only like salads with fruit and/or veggies, then make a salad before every meal.  Make options that work in your favor!
  5. Eat smaller portions by starting with smaller bowls and plates.  This prevents you from overeating and tricks your brain into thinking you’re getting a lot of food since the plate is full but in reality, it’s just a smaller portion size.  If you feel like you need more, you really don’t. It’s all about mind power and training your brain to be satisfied with what you already have.

Throughout the week, I will be sharing some other helpful tips and information about food and nutrition so stay tuned for more.

Suggested links to read:

As always, stay fit, stay healthy, stay beautiful Warhakws!

Talk soon, 

Ashley Borowski