Gratitude is a hot topic right now and for good reason. Gratitude changes us, both physically, mentally and emotionally. It can change our brain, our thinking and how we feel physically and emotionally. Gratitude is a powerful tool to enhance your enjoyment of every day life. It is “happy time-out” where you remind yourself, that in spite of the challenges you are facing, your life is full of many things that you have wished and prayed for, or worked to achieve.
Gratitude is a quick reminder that there is good in your world even when everything is not perfect.
1) Gratitude is literally brain changing in the moment. Gratitude changes which neurons fire-and-wire together in your brain, building and strengthening the neural pathways that see the good stuff of life. When we express gratitude, this thought pattern changes the physical structure, the gray matter, of our brain.
2) Gratitude changes how we think going forward. As humans, we are natural problem-solvers, then tends to be the basic operating system of our brain. It looks for problems and ways to solve them. Having a focus on “what is wrong” or “what could go wrong” keeps us focused on the not-so-good part of life, and we tend to overlook all of the awesome amazing things that happen every day. By practicing gratitude, you are actively re-training your brain to be on the lookout for positive occurrences.
3) Gratitude changes our body. Our body responds to our thoughts. Thinking on stressful, emotional or painful thoughts sets off a chemical reaction within our body, and we feel different physically. We may notice tightness in certain muscles, an uneasy feeling in our gut or an existing ache or pain may intensify. Your body is “listening” to your thoughts! And the opposite is true, when we express gratitude mentally or verbally, we may notice that our physical state has changed. We may feel lighter, move easier, or have less tension in our body.
Gratitude is NOT just acting happy or ignoring all of the tough challenges you are facing. But rather it is intentionally setting aside a moment to take a quick inventory and savor what you already have that gives your life beauty, enjoyment, peace, love and contentment.