Seventeen Minutes to a Great Day: Prioritizing Self-Care and Gratitude

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

Life is challenging, as Scott Peck pointed out in his book, The Road Less Traveled. Reading his book as a  young person, I initially resisted this notion, but over time, I’ve come to appreciate this truth.

Our mental mindset adds an extra layer of difficulty to our lives. During a recent round of golf, a fellow player continuously muttered, “I suck, I really suck!” As a psychologist, I told him I couldn’t endorse such negative thinking, but he remained undeterred.

Fortunately, we can take intentional actions to improve our mindset, and it only requires a mere fifteen minutes each morning:

  1. When you wake up, take a moment to think about three things you’re grateful for in your life. It could be recent achievements, acts of kindness from others, or the simple joys that surround you at your favorite bakery. Today, I’m grateful for the beautiful weather, the time I spent with good friends over the Memorial Day weekend, and the upcoming celebration of my 43rd wedding anniversary with my wife, Sheila. This exercise will only take around 2 minutes.
  2. Gift yourself a morning moment. Dedicate 10 minutes to sit on your deck, savor a cup of coffee, listen to the birds chirping, or stroll through your garden. Allow yourself time for reflection and tranquility, enabling your mind to find peace. Personally, I engage in a daily meditation practice that concludes with a heartfelt expression of gratitude for those precious minutes of calm.
  3. Perform an act of kindness for someone else. This could be as simple as picking up a neighbor’s newspaper from the sidewalk or reaching out to a friend to share your appreciation. Last week, on my birthday, I received a thoughtful card from Kate and Jack, dear friends I rarely see. I dashed off a thank you note to express my gratitude. This action will only take approximately 5 minutes.

Investing in self-care cultivates resilience and nurtures our inner strength. By carving out time for ourselves and connecting with our better selves, we become not only stronger individuals but also better human beings.

Let me know how it goes!

© Richard Citrin 2023

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