We rush from one activity to the next at a frantic pace and often come to the end of our day without having REALLY experienced all of the (extra)ordinary moments in our waking hours. Those ordinary moments for which we are so grateful. The big hug from our little ones, or the slobbery kisses from our dog, or that compliment from a stranger that really made our day. Those golden opportunities to really connect on a deep level.
But what I’ve been pondering lately, is how can we blend gratitude into those rich moments on a regular basis?
We’ve all heard it before- Be grateful. Have an attitude of gratitude. But there’s more to it than that. Gratitude actually CHANGES OUR BRAIN. New research is showing that gratitude goes much further than we may have thought.
There are new studies that show the benefits of gratitude include reduced stress, lower rates of depression and obesity, stronger relationships, better sleep, stronger immune system, feeling more optimistic, more resilient, lower blood pressure, better pain management, and better self-care - to practice The Four Seeds of Self-Care! What more do I need to say?
So often we look for the cause of our beliefs and emotions, which is certainly a crucial component to healing. But once we have identified feelings we haven't addressed, limiting beliefs and done work on forgiveness we need to shift our focus to all that is going right and the potential for our lives to improve!
So, back to my question. How do we blend gratitude into our lives on a daily basis? How do we cultivate gratitude?
The research suggests that journaling and writing letters of gratitude help us to focus on the positive. The more that we use positive words to describe the moments and the people that we are grateful for the more we begin to shift towards a brighter outlook. And the even better news is that there seem to be lasting effects on the brain for long-term benefits. Every day we write down and think about the things that we are grateful for it propels us forward into new territory.
Another idea is to think of what your life would look like without the people or things that you are grateful for. Sometimes we focus on petty little things with the people that we are closest to, but how about all of the positive they add to our lives? What if they weren't in our lives at all? This kind of exercise can really help bring us back to the positive aspects of our loved ones!
Another idea that I LOVE is taking a walk outside. The benefits of walking or hiking in nature are incredible! Getting outdoors and savoring our natural environment is another way we can really drink in the beauty that surrounds us that we sometimes take for granted. Really soak in the sights and sounds of mother nature! Her beauty is something to behold!
These are just a few ideas for practicing gratitude on a daily basis. And as our social media culture sometimes leaves us feeling "less than", I love this quote by Brene Brown- “Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and we’re enough.” Amen!
Gratitude is one more tool that we can use to help us live an extraordinary life- to get connected!
With Love & Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel