Speak and Affirm Gratitude in your life! Speak the life over that which you have and that which you wish to see in your life. Thank God in advance for all he is doing! Things are always happening even if you can’t see it so thank him for those things.
As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.
What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?
One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Cheya Thousand.
Cheya Thousand is a Christian Burnout Coach + Speaker + Wellness Consultant + Author + Podcast Host.
In 2017 she founded CT Wellness Co., a wellness training company educating students, professionals, and women, on ways to overcome burnout to live with intention. Her mission is to improve the overall physical & mental well-being and quality of life for students & leaders by empowering them to build a sustainable lifestyle.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?
After relocating to Miami from New York & experiencing burnout 3x’s over the last 10yrs I realized I had to make self-care a priority. I began to focus on my physical wellness after doing so I recognized something even with my friends: those who focused on their self-care had a better quality of life. This was game changing for me. I then went on to create self-care packages for moms! They were a hit however others who were not moms wanted the packages. That then led to me wanting to impact more people so I got my certification in stress management to teach people
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Chains of Habit Are Too Light to Be Felt Until They Are Too Heavy to Be Broken” — Warren Buffett. I love this quote because our lives are composed of our choices and habits. The reason people have a hard time changing their habits is because they have become so heavy to break. This was so relevant in my own life especially when I began my wellness journey. I had to change my eating habits and it took awhile to do it, almost 2 years. Everyday I am very grateful for my body and its ability to move and function at full capacity.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you?
One of the best and most impactful books has been “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Can you share a story about why that resonated with you? This book resonates with me so much because until reading it I never realized how full of ego I was. While reading it I saw something in myself I never saw which was that when you are ambitious it is better to speak about your goals minimally. The reason is the more you talk about it you convince yourself you have already done it.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, I am about to launch The Burnout Masterclass on September 25th. It is a 5 week live small group class. These sessions will allow you the opportunity to learn and practice intentionality through self awareness to align with your values. Once identified leaning into your values shifts your mindset to build habits that focus on living a full authentic life which helps prevent burnout.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Honestly, I am so grateful for my mom. She is like my best friend, confidant and editor. She encouraged me to write my book Holding Space For Self, and helped edit it.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
A heart of gratitude is a heart that SEES all the good things that are already present. In other words, when you’re grateful, you’re constantly seeing all the good that you have in your life.You’re not constantly frustrated about what you don’t have. Not constantly searching for the next thing you’re going to get.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude?
We live in a culture so focused on one upping each other and grinding for all we want. We are not taught to cherish what we have and the gift of contentment. It is ok to want more and still be content. So much of society is driven by the next thing: we don’t take the time to look around and be mindful of the journey. The journey is the gift and not necessarily the achievement. How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive? It is not something we practice enough. We don’t exercise mindfulness on a daily basis and when you do you are ok being still and counting your blessings. It don’t have to be elusive, however it does have to be exercised.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
Cultivating an awareness of my blessings helps to express gratitude often. Slowing down enough to grasp the fragility of life and the gift that it is to have life itself is a blessing and deserves gratitude. When I take time to count my blessings, I experience true gratitude. Keeping a blessing jar to go though at the end of the month or year to see the many ways God has shown up! Note I don’t put “I woke up” in the jar as I thank God each day for that gift! The jar can include a series of things such as a promotion at work, some form of unexpected financial aid, or unexpected quality time with a loved one. God blesses us in many ways each day!
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?
Expressing gratitude can improve your overall mood, reduce stress and its impact on the body.. As well as leading to greater levels of sensitivity and lower levels of anxiety.
Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?
1. Seek to Give Gratitude- I started playing this game with myself whenever I went out to the store and the idea is to thank the experience by name and make them smile or laugh. Once I started doing this I never had a bad customer experience again. The biggest Ah ha for me was noticing the intention behind my game and expressing gratitude to someone doing me a service. What I noticed is so often we seek to report the bad in any given experience but it isn’t as often do we say we have a positive experience with a person. Now I seek to do that and my spirit leads with it so I get better service and then when I thank the person by name the recognize I remembered and care. I sometimes top it off with seeming out the manager to share how great of an experience I had. This makes the associate and the manager feel good. We all need to hear it sometimes even if we don’t want to admit it! Gratitude has a great domino effect!
2. Always say Thank You- Seems like a no brainer yet so often we forget to say it and it can make someone’s day.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal- Creating a daily habit of writing down 3–5 things you’re grateful for keeps you in a constant state of gratitude.
4. Speak and Affirm Gratitude in your life! Speak the life over that which you have and that which you wish to see in your life. Thank God in advance for all he is doing! Things are always happening even if you can’t see it so thank him for those things.
5. Find the Good or the Lesson in every situation: Without the sort you wouldn’t have learned the lesson. I say some of us are hard learners so we go through some hard situations yet that ain’t everyone. Never be envious because you don’t know what a person had to go through to have their life. The one practice can help you be present and grateful all the time.
Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?
My fave practice is to checkin with myself and ask “what is the lesson I am to learn at this moment?” Most times we fall into self pity and miss the lesson and we are then destined to repeat it. No one gets it right all the time and we will experience a lot of rejection in life yet most times that means we are that much closer to our yes! When you are low, if you look for the lesson you will find it! If you seek to always be a student you won’t get stuck there you will know this too shall pass and I will be better for having gone through it.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
My favorite way to cultivate gratitude is to read the Bible. So many people in the Bible are just like us and experienced hardship and overcame it. One of my favorite people is Rahab and she was a prostitute and she helped the angels and her life was saved. Well she went on to be in the lineage of Jesus. She was Boaz’s mother and Boaz married Ruth. He was thought to be a catch off man even then and is referred to as a catch even today! I am sure she never saw that for herself but God did.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start the Self-Care Movement. We can’t pour from an empty vessel and if we all supported and worked on ourselves our collective mental health would be better. Not in a selfish sense either but in a human dignity kind of way. By taking care of myself I can be my best for myself and you. But when we want to burn that candle from both ends no one wins, even those we were trying to be there for.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Visit my website www.cheyathousand.com and follow me on Instagram @CheyaThousand
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!