Best Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
This Calls for Gratitude    journal by Swell Made Co.

This Calls for Gratitude journal by Swell Made Co.

In Canada, many are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Whether you celebrate or not, there is a lot to be grateful for and that deserves celebration on its own. With the change in seasons and hectic holiday months ahead, October is a good time to cultivate more gratitude and witness the benefits it has for our mental and physical wellbeing. How do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude or make it a state of mind throughout the year? We’re continually discovering, learning and trying new ways as we grow, but these ones have stuck. It might sound or feel silly at first, but the proof is in the science — gratitude is powerful.

What is gratitude and why is it important for our health? The word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude encompasses all of these meanings in some way. Gratitude is the simple appreciation of the good we receive in our lives. It can help us through the difficult things we receive too. In the process, we usually recognize that goodness comes from something larger than ourselves.

Gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness and health. Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions while enhancing empathy and reducing aggression. It improves self-esteem and builds mental strength. It helps us savour experiences and life’s little things (like coffee and plants). It improves our physical health by promoting better care for ourselves — including encouraging us to exercise more, helping us sleep more soundly and increasing heart health. It helps us deal with adversity, build stronger relationships and even become better leaders.

Sounds like a miracle, right? It is in a way; but just like any good thing in life, it takes work to express gratitude and make it a habit. Give these a try and see what works for you.

How to Express Gratitude

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Make it a habit and write down what you are grateful for each day. It can be as little as one thing or as many as you like. You can do this at the end of your day before bed, or at the start of your day as you set your intentions and goals. Or, both. Either way, this habit will show you what you already have to be grateful for. Even in the face of adversity. Gratitude helps us see the silver lining so we can learn and grow through life’s hard times.

2. Write a Simple Note

Nurture relationships and make yourself happier simply by writing notes of gratitude. Expressing your appreciation and joy of a person's impact on your life is therapeutic. Send a card or deliver it in person. Make a habit of sending handwritten notes throughout the year. We’re big fans of writing notes. Here are a few tips on how to express gratitude with writing and why it’s important.

3. Say Thank You more

Not up for writing a note? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank them. Better yet, thank them in person. Simply saying thank you more will help you recognize all the things (big and small) you have to be grateful for. Thank people regularly throughout your day. Even if you don’t have to. It’s the little things that go a long way.

4. Get Outside

Get outside to get some fresh air, let the sun fall on your face, enjoy the colours of fall leaves or the crunch of snow underfoot. No matter what time of year, nature is stunning and has a way of humbling us and showing us what we have to be grateful for. Spending more time outside won’t let you forget it. Plus, it’s good for your mental and physical health to keep moving, especially amongst the trees.

5. Meditate

Meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Focus on what you're grateful for, a word or intention, your breath or nothing at all. Start small and grow. It can be hard at first, so try an app or a guided meditation class. You can train your brain to be mindful and meditate anywhere. During yoga, while riding transit (seriously), as you walk or run outside. Even when your kid is having a meltdown, you’re called into another meeting or during other moments of daily stress. Focus on your breath, ground yourself in the moment and gain clarity. Places of calm and gratitude can exist anywhere if you let them in.

How do you express gratitude in your life? We’d love to know. We’re grateful to have you here reading this post. Thank you! You’re swell.

Lesley Robb Comment
Best Plants To Rejuvenate Your Space
Best Plants To Rejuvenate Your Space by Swell Made Co. Photo by Leonardo Iheme.

Best Plants To Rejuvenate Your Space by Swell Made Co. Photo by Leonardo Iheme.

Rejuvenate Your Space with Plants

Plants don’t just elevate the look of your space, they create a calm space to take refuge and be rejuvenated. Bringing the outdoors in can help satisfy your desire and need to be closer to nature all year round. Better yet! There is scientific proof plants extend their peaceful power to us in more ways than one. They beautify a home while simultaneously cleaning its air by removing toxins and creating calm.

Having plants in your space has even been shown to increase creativity and productivity. Altogether, plants ultimately play a significant role in reducing stress. Giving your plants the TLC they need to thrive can be very rewarding once you get the hang of it. We’ll explore five plants that are easy to care for and will soften your spaces while giving them a green boost that promotes a healthy body and mind.

Aloe vera. Photo by Jessica Lewis.

Aloe vera. Photo by Jessica Lewis.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a popular houseplant that has won home gardeners over for its hardiness and tolerance for low watering (good news, black thumbs!). Considered a succulent, it’s well known that aloe vera produces a gel-like substance that can be used to naturally soothe skin, particularly for cuts and burns. That’s not all this powerful plant can do, though. It also purifies the air in your space by removing common pollutants. A double dose for the health of your home, this “wonder plant” has been used therapeutically since ancient times.

Peace lily. Photo by Mitch Lensink.

Peace lily. Photo by Mitch Lensink.

The Peace Lily

The peace lily (spathiphyllum) not only looks beautiful with its dark leaves and white flowers, but it’s relatively low maintenance. It is very tolerant to low watering just like aloe vera mentioned above. Like other plants in this post, peace lilies literally extend their peace to you by will reducing common toxins in the atmosphere of your home. If you’re a green thumb, peace lilies are also great for propagating and making new plant pals.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palm is a popular choice for a houseplant with its versatility and tropical vibe. It’s easy to grow and care for and like other plants in this post, and is known to help reduce atmospheric toxicity through natural respiration. There are multiple kinds of bamboo, but the bamboo palm (chamaedorea) is rated by NASA’s Clean Air Study as one of the most purifying plants for your space. Tolerant to low light, just place near a window and water occasionally to maintain well-drained soil and your bamboo palm will thrive.

Snake plant. Photo Kara Eads.

Snake plant. Photo Kara Eads.

The Snake Plant

Snake plants (sansevieria) are incredibly low maintenance making them a popular choice as plant pals. A little light and a little water go a long way. With its elongated and bold leaves, this plant is the perfect space-saving indoor plant. Also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue, this is one MIL you’ll be happy to have around. Even in your bedroom! Why? Carbon dioxide is absorbed during the day and oxygen is released at night. Snake plants are one of the few plants that do this. Other plants typically release oxygen during the day. Putting a snake plant in your bedroom will help you sleep easy as it helps cleans the air for healthy respiration.

Stretching vines by Kyle Glenn.

Stretching vines by Kyle Glenn.

Hanging or Trailing Vines

Hoya, ivy, and other vine plants that can be naturally trained to hang or trail can be grouped and styled to have a big impact in your home — visually and for maximum health benefits as the vines quietly and humbly recycle air. Hang vines from a bookshelf or baskets. Train them to climb walls or grow around fixtures such as mirrors. This not so creepy style of plant communicates growth and calm to anyone entering your space. Examples of common vines are spider plants, pothos and philodendron. All are easy to care for and easy to propagate too.

Inviting Plants into Your Space

Inviting a variety of plants into your home will help rejuvenate you and your space. Naturally, these plants will reduce common toxins in your home as they “breathe” in carbon dioxide and exhale pure oxygen. Plus, studies have shown the simple presence of plants can help people feel more at ease.

Two to three medium-sized plants for every 100 sq. ft. will help clean the air and rejuvenate your space. Especially if you add the powerhouse plants mentioned above. Adding even more plants will help your home get healthy is less time. You’ll notice a difference in just one week. When buying plants think about where you spend the most time (and the growing conditions of those rooms), such as a home office, where you watch TV or read, or bedrooms where you sleep. Add plants to these spaces and watch little miracles happen!

Printable | Swell Lunch Box Notes
Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Be kind. Be bold. Be you.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Be kind. Be bold. Be you.

Summer days are numbered, which means it’s back to school time. Sigh. Even though fresh starts are nice, it’s bittersweet to see the lazy days come to an end. With sun kissed faces and hearts and minds full of memories; we hope you had a truly swell summer.

To get into the spirit, we have a sweet printable for kids, big and small. Lunch box notes. Never underestimate the impact of simple, but optimistic words. Especially during those early days back when the novelty of the first day has worn off. Transitions can be tricky for some parents and kids. So, here’s something simple to help.

All you have to do is print this PDF and trim the notes with scissors. Any paper will do. Then, simply add to your lunch boxes. There are four notes in total and only one reminds everyone to eat their veggies, we promise. Feel free to add your own note on the reverse side. These are sweet, but nothing beats a handwritten note from you.

Happy back to school and fall, swell friends! Until then, enjoy the remaining days of summer. Don’t worry, there are still two weeks left. Lots of time to check those items off your bucket list, read that book, take that road trip or do nothing at all.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Your are magic, kid.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Your are magic, kid.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Eat your veggies, please.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Eat your veggies, please.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Today is going to be a good day.

Printable Lunch Box Notes for Back to School. By Swell Made Co. Today is going to be a good day.