Day 18. Gratitude.
I was just reading this article from 2020 about the science of gratitude. I was cleaning my floors earlier today (don't you love how meditative cleaning is) and remembered this Abraham Hicks conference I attended back in 2018. Honestly, I forgot I had even gone! I feel like I've lived 5 lives since then. But I vaguely remembered Esther Hicks talking about making a gratitude list and I felt like that was a good idea. Gonna throw down a few tidbits from this link below (https://www.proctorgallagherinstitute.com/40115/the-science-of-gratitude)
The Benefits of Gratitude
In 2018, The Greater Good Science Center published a white paper called “The Science of Gratitude” that outlined the following benefits of having a gratitude practice:
• increased happiness and positive mood
• more satisfaction with life
• less likely to experience burnout
• better physical health
• better sleep
• less fatigue
• greater resiliency
• development of patience, humility, and wisdom
This study also showed that groups that practice gratitude may have better social behaviors, stronger relationships, and increased job satisfaction.
How Gratitude Trains the Brain
Science shows that gratitude can increase important neurochemicals in the brain and body.
When thinking shifts from negative to positive, there is a surging of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These all contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection, and happiness that come with gratitude.
However, we must practice gratitude consistently to reap these rewards.
We know the brain changes with experience, so the more that gratitude is practiced, the more the brain learns to tune in to the positive things in the world.
Studies show that focusing on an experience for 20 seconds is long enough to create positive structural changes in the brain.
So yeah. Gratitude is literally the starting point to everything you want to achieve, change, gain, lose, acquire etc.. in life. You cannot change your circumstances without being present and grateful for who you are, where you are, and everything you have, right in this very moment. That positive affirmation of wow, this is amazing, just think about how good it can get! Or yes. More of this! Is everything. It's a reminder to yourself of just how vast and abundant this universe is. I struggle with this, honestly. I struggle with feeling guilt about wanting more. I have so much. I have such a beautiful life. Why should I want more?? I think growing up in the church and coming from little means, it almost felt shameful or even blasphemous to want more. Greedy and ungrateful. But I don't believe in this mentality and I work hard at unlearning, and quieting down other's voices in my head that unknowingly (some probably knowingly hahah) taught me this. I remind myself I deserve everything I desire. I remind myself to share my blessings and enjoy them to the fullest. That I can and am abundant and have abundance in every aspect in my life. Health, joy, family, friends, creativity, kindness, fierceness, experience, expression, feelings, beautiful things that I own that other amazing human beings with an abundance of creativity have created .. !! and why would I not want more of that?? Why shouldn't I want more of that. To be able to share more of that. To be able to experience more connection and conversation and feeling. LIFE.
So gratitude practice. What's yours? Do you have one? I journal and write about what I'm thankful for all the time in my entries and I pray before bed and thank God for everything I'm thankful for. But I thought this week/weekend I would write a gratitude list. I thought (and I think this is from the conference) I could make a list of things I'm not so grateful for in this moment in time in my life and try to find something I'm grateful for within that circumstance or thing. In the article I linked, their subjects wrote letters to different people and expressing their gratitude, once a week for 3 weeks. I LOVE that idea. You can send them. You can keep them. I love the idea of keeping them and one by one, giving them out to those people on a special occasion or when you feel they might need to hear it most. Or just because! Anyway, gratitude practice. Think of something you can do daily, weekly,.. they can be different things. I know sometimes I just sit at the window and watch a beautiful sunset and say thank you to the sky. Mindfulness is so important and makes life sweeter.
I am thankful for you and for this outlet to write all my thoughts. Even if nobody reads it, I've been thankful to myself for putting together this wellness routine that has brought more joy and focus to my life. Challenging myself to keep little promises to myself and I'm thankful to myself for keeping them!!
I love you. Thank you.
See you tomorrow.
“Consciousness is the part of a person that can grow into something more. When it becomes continuous for him, then he rises up to another, higher and subtler state. He never ceases to rise higher.”