Gratitude is a science. Did you know that? It’s not New Age hippie bunkum.
Reflecting on gratitude and feeling gratitude, then expressing it repairs the neural network. Yep seriously. It’s proven to heal … ask Mr Google because if I add links here, there will be pages and pages.
If you meditate on gratitude, and honestly feel it your body and mind start to change. Your brain starts to tingle and work.
Feeling gratitude when you are sad, depressed and alone is difficult at first because your brain is so warped by negativity, but once you get the hang of it, things really start to feel great.
Start small. Think of one little thing you are grateful for – even if it’s your morning cuppa; or one person who has made a difference in your life. Focus on it or them. Focus on that feeling of gratitude. Let it fill you and extend it outwards.
As you practice, you will naturally find more things to be grateful for in life.
When you find something to be grateful for and truly feel it, write it down in your gratitude journal. Try and do this a few times a week.
Yes, I said to keep a gratitude journal. Use it and reflect back on it when things start to feel a bit dark or empty.
If you’re not sure how to start, here are a few of entries of my own as examples:
I am grateful for the moments I can sit outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, or the calming light of the moon when the breeze gently lifts my hair. I am grateful when the sounds of humankind are not there to interfere, when I can focus and feel life around me; watch and listen to the birds, the buzzing of the bees, the mating calls of hundreds of frogs; when leaves dance and frolic from the branches as they sway and swirl in the currents of air above me. When I watch the clouds float by, shifting, changing shape taking on forms of creatures imagined and yet to be imagined, then I am at peace, and I am grateful for that peace. When the grass is soft beneath my feet I can sit and close my eyes and feel the cool beneath the warmth of the earth beneath me; it is then that living is worth something because then and only then do I feel that I am a part of something. So yes, I am grateful for the earth and the non-human life that is upon it.
When I hear the soft trickle of water over rocks, of raindrops falling gently onto leaves, when a breeze so gentle caresses and lifts my hair, when the warmth of the sun’s golden rays bathe and warm me, when the grass beneath my feet swallows me, tickles and prickles, I close my eyes and sink into me. When I am there, then I am. And I know that I am. And in that “I am” then I am me. I am no longer a reflection, an expectation, a vessel of emptiness, lost, confused, distressed – In that moment I just am.
In those moments of am, I am at peace; I am calm, I am warm and soft, open, welcoming, alive and sure. In those moments, I am grateful to be alive.
I am grateful for music. In music, there is life and joy and loving. In music there is dancing, there is crying and soul-deep pain. Music was once my controller, that which got me from moment to moment through each and every day. Playlists programmed to elicit the required change in emotional response to enable me to function and not drown. It gives me rhythm, movement, pace and helps me to cry when I need to cry. Music helps me paint and draw and sculpt; pencil and brush and palette knife, pliers and fingers. Focus, distraction – necessity. So with music as the key, then I am grateful for my ears and my hearing. Music shuts out the sounds of cars and trucks and buses and the shoutiness and constant noise of people – it eases the anxiety I feel at human sound.
When I start to feel grateful to have a person in my life, then I don’t put that in my journal. For in this instance, gratitude also opens love. So when I feel this toward I person, I write them a letter. Then send it. By mail or email, or however, you prefer. But bite the bullet and send it.
It did feel awkward at first, writing to someone to tell them how grateful I was that they were or are in my life and what their presence meant to me. It was difficult, I was embarrassed, but I have found that most people are happy to receive something like this. It shows them how valued they are and therefore, helps them too. The feeling I get from helping others magnifies the feelings of love, and good within myself, and I become calmer, happier and more in control.
Extend gratitude into your daily life. When you thank someone for making you a coffee at the café or thank someone behind the checkout at the supermarket – FEEL it. Make it mean something. THANK YOU has meaning. It is more than a polite phrase. If you feel it instead of just mouthing it out of habit, your sincerity and authenticity will be noted and accepted by others; this will make them feel cared for and respected too.
Gratitude is infectious.
Spread this beautiful infection.
For the more we can do this, the better we will be; and the better the world around us will become.
So thank you for reading this. I am truly grateful for your time oxo