“Dear old world”, she murmured,
“you are very lovely , and I am glad to be alive in you.”
~LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
In a world gone mad, it is easy enough to fall into the abyss of hopelessness.
And yet, when we can change the focus , even momentarily, the sun shines through the clouds, we are back to center and can set about the work we are meant to do.
For me, the practice of Gratitude has been one such way to bring about the change in focus.
Several years ago, my colleague, Nancy Harris, issued a facebook challenge: who wants to join in a daily gratitude posting? My inner geek girl was curious to experience the brain/body connection first hand but needed to do a bit of research in advance.
Here’s what social scientists had to say:
There is a complex relationship between our thoughts and our moods ( i.e the chemistry of our brains) and the physiological systems in our bodies! Essentially, what we THINK affects how we FEEL both emotionally and physically.
Positive thoughts, like GRATITUDE, increase our sense of well-being. Study after study shows positivity results in less stress, thereby fewer symptoms of illness as well as increased immune functioning!
Convinced I had something to gain, for 12 months I engaged in the social experiment of expressing thankfulness on a daily basis.
My personal experience taught me that being thankful creates spontaneous happiness:
I found myself actually looking for things to be grateful for!
And as we know, what we look for becomes magnified!
Life became more magical simply because I expected it to be!
Here are five simple ways to add the MAGIC of Gratitude to YOUR day:
1.When your eyes pop open in the morning, GIVE THANKS! Hit the snooze button for 5 and instead of actually dozing, focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for: the warmth of your comfy bed, the great dinner with friends last night, the love of your kids, the birdsong outside your window. It may not come easy at first, but practice makes it easier. Doing it on the days that are especially rushed and stressful gives your mind a place to relax.
2. Take a breath at lunchtime, open a small notebook and write down one thing from your morning that made you grateful. Some days it will may be as simple as thanking the Universe that you didn’t get caught speeding on the way to work. Taking the time to find the joy is a great way to wash away stress.
3.The evening commute can be a great time to distract yourself with positive thoughts! “I am grateful that the bus always runs on time”. “I am grateful that I made the 5:35 train instead of having to wait for the 6:05” . Gratitude can give you space between the end of workday and the evening ahead.
4.Write a Thank You note! Take the time to express gratitude for a relationship, the effect someone has had on your life…if you can’t find the time to write it down, thank someone mentally! See how it shifts your feelings about that person and in turn, yourself.
5.Keep a gratitude journal next to your bed : before you head off to dreamland , focus on three things that you were thankful for during the day…and feel those emotions in your body. Less ruminating makes for a better night’s sleep.
Our world could use some more magic right now. Take a moment and give gratitude a try!
Toward Hope and Healing…
Rose Tenaglia Dunn is the Founder of LyceumLIVE: Your Resource for Hope and Healing, a collaborative marketing platform showcasing purpose driven souls who are dedicated to personal and societal transformation. YOUR MESSAGE needs to be heard. To Share it, contact Rose @lyceumlive.com