Gratitude is the single most important act you can perform to improve your life.
Its free, it’s easy and it’s actually pretty simple as well….all you need to do is spend a few minutes contemplating the things that make your life worth living….what makes you happy, content, satisfied? and then, when you find yourself experiencing those moments– express thanks….and thats it–its as simple as that! Who/What are you thanking? Whatever it is that allowed you to experience this moment in time.
By allowing yourself to sink into the sensations of gratitude….you will change your life….here’s how on a physiological level.
Sinking into the Sensations of Gratitude
1. As you purposely dwell on those parts of your life that you love, appreciate, and want more of….your brain is actively engaged in producing a bunch of chemicals that allow you to think/reexperience these thoughts/moments….reproducing the chemical matrix that you felt when you first witness/experienced that phenomenon that you are grateful for…..so anytime you want to change your brain chemistry from grumpy to grateful–just focus on something that you are grateful for.–it will literally change your brain chemistry–and we are products of our brain/body chemistry (we have no choice its simple biology–remember we are spiritual creatures experiencing a biological life–we are constrained by our biology)
2. As you spend more time focusing on the positive, your brain starts to produce more and more of these chemicals and the receptors for those chemicals throughout your whole body–brain chemicals are not all restricted to the brain….so as you have more and more of these chemicals available for use…they will be used. Nature wastes nothing–so those chemicals will be used by every cell in your body–allowing you to truly experience gratitude on a physical basis–not just emotionally or mentally.
3. Eventually, since the brain likes to make shortcuts to conserve energy, it will just keep a ready supply of these chemicals around because it knows you are going to need them, and it wants to be prepared for that. It saves energy to have the most used chemicals around with larger pathways to work most efficiently. (remember the cow path to super highway analogy?)
Therefore by practicing gratitude, you teach the brain to make, keep, store, and use the gratitude chemicals–which just happen to be the very same chemicals which the brain uses to experience joy….sooo you become way more likely to experience random moments of sheer joy, bliss, awe and satisfaction because the brain has a surplus of these chemicals on hand and is trained to release them frequently. (imagine your brain bathed in a big happy chemical soup)
So go forth and practice gratitude….we need it to offset all the constant negativity that we are being steeped in. As we stew in negativity–our brains create more of the downer chemicals–and the very same process takes place, as we think downer thoughts the brain creates downer chemicals…so we end up more likely to experience sadness, anger, etc…
and that my friends, is how we become what we think about….more to the truth, we become how we feel…but our thoughts dictate our feelings. we have a choice in how we think….believe it or not, we are in control of our monkey minds!
Simple positive thought will help…but sinking into gratitude–really and truly feeling grateful, allowing those grateful brain chemicals to seep into our bodies so we can actually physically feel gratitude–when that happens–you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your life!
I know this works–cause I have tried it…I still practice gratitude all day–every day and I seek out reasons to be grateful….I put time and energy into creating experiences that I can feel grateful for. I consciously look for beauty in my surroundings, I truly look for the best in people, and seek the most positive outlook on any situation I may find myself in.
Conversely, I do my best to limit the amount of negativity in my life…by that, I mean I don’t spend time watching the news much, I actively avoid people I do not like and when forced to deal with yucky things like– traffic, for instance, I try my best to be positive about the experience–I figure if I am stuck in traffic its a good time to breath deep, check my posture, and practice patience….at least I try 🙂 and it does make it better. I have the option to be aggravated and stressed or to try for patience, breath and improved posture.
No matter what comes my way, I seek to find the best possible reason it could be happening, or at the very least try to make the best of the situation….I have been practicing gratitude religiously for the last 4 years, and I am amazed at how it has changed my life…..on the outside–nothing has changed, but on the inside–its a whole new world!
Try it–you just might like it 🙂