It is such a lovely word. Powerful in and of itself. It’s such a funny thing that as humans we tend to be so quick to engage when a situation comes up short of our expectations. We lament the fact that such and such didn’t happen or that so and so did this to us. We are really good at making ourselves the victim. I know I am. But, I do my best to be cognizant of this very human trend and steer clear of it.
Who is really winning when I am complaining? That’s a big fat no one. On the flip side, who is winning when I swap that negative/victim attitude to one of abundance, thanks, and presence? Now everyone wins. It’s a very simple mind set. There is that epically cheesy, yet so spot on quote:
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you perceive it.
Isn’t this so true, though?
So what happens when you consciously choose to make gratitude a part of your life? A whole host of stellar goodies come at you.
You are physically altering your body at a cellular level for health. Your thoughts affect your body. Have you ever presented at a public event that you were really nervous for and had butterflies in your stomach? Or have you received a marvelous love letter from your partner and your heart swelled with joy? These are examples of how our bodies react to our thoughts (for a fascinating read, take a look at Psychology Today’s article on mind-body connection here).
Go ahead and take a deep breath. Intentionally focus your thoughts on what you do have, on what is good right now. This tiny practice will result in your cortisol levels decreasing and your sense of well-being increasing. This allows room for creative problem solving on the mental side of the equation, fights inflammation of the physical side and your positive energy will brighten the day of anyone you come into contact with.
This bio-psycho-social equation is key for overall robust health. In our culture we like to think we can take a pill for anything that ails us. Well. Sorry to tell you, if you’re a chronic Debbie downer, no amounts of prescription meds are going to solve your lack-luster attitude and create space, light, and love in your life. That takes good old fashioned elbow grease. Good news is, it doesn’t require an astronomical undertaking in order to invite awesome to your life.
Take a moment throughout your day to acknowledge all the good in your life. Be it clean drinking water, an inspiring partner, the best dog in the world or a whole hearted smile from a stranger. Acknowledging the beauty and abundance that is already present paves the way for more good to come.
Whether it was a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning or the amazing friend who knows just the thing to say when you need it most, tonight before you go to bed, take a minute to jot down 3 things you were grateful for today and reap the benefits.