"Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren't grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more?" Roy T. Bennett "The Light in the Heart"
Gratitude practice is in vogue at the moment, and rightly so, and it isn't a day too late. As a foundation for this interest are a plethora of studies that have been to ascertain the effect of practicing gratitude. When we receive a compliment, a gift or something else we can feel grateful for it, but it wears off quickly from your conscious mind, but it remains far longer in your "system". Studies show (here's an example: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain) that continuously practicing gratitude:
Unshackles you from toxic emotions
You find it to be an intrinsic experience without the need for external validation or contribution
It requires patience
It has a lasting effect
I suggest to all my clients that when you wake up in the morning, take five or ten minutes just sitting on the side of your bed with your feet in the ground, and your hands on your chest, breathe and remind yourself of anything in your life you are grateful for. This has two purposes; you interrupt the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR), that sets off just before you wake up, and is in actual fact what makes you wake up and can "jump out of bed". Cortisol is part of the physical stress response and has been shown to be very detrimental to our health when we produce too much off it. And it shifts your mind from your daily stresses (that are amplified by the CAR) to what you have that you can be grateful for. That is, your stress base level for the day is far lower than if you just "jump out of bed" or, even worse, check your phone immediately when you wake up (phones are banned from bedrooms in my house).
Gratitude as a practice is a form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) joined with visualisation therapy. It also engages your RAS (Reticular Activation System), the system that makes you notice things that you have put in your mind, e.g. if you have your eyes on a new car, you will suddenly start seeing that car everywhere, because you have told you subconscious that you are interested in it. So, by pure logic, we can see that the practice of gratitude helps shift your attention and mindset to finding what is positive in your life, and you embody it as you now start to evoke the emotion of gratitude.
"Those that don't believe in magic will never experience it" Roal Dahl
Once you are a month or so into practicing gratitude, then magic starts to happen, well perhaps not quite magic, but it certainly feels like it. Most people employ journaling as their primary technique, but there are also:
If we constantly remind ourselves of all the things we have that we can be grateful for, we BECOME grateful and life becomes a constant gift that we love receiving. It is a process of building up the picture with all your internal senses with the support of your external ones to evoke the feeling of gratitude within you to create a fully integrated embodiment of gratitude within you.
I am grateful for you joining me on this journey, and I hope you enjoy the podcast.