Updated: Jan 24
"Gratitude" has been a buzz word for a while now and science is showing that there's good reason to develop a gratitude practice, and even an attitude of gratitude in life.
It can help to increase positive neurotransmitters, to improve relationships and to My favorite thing about gratitude (other than the warm, fuzzy tingles it brings)?? Just a couple of minutes in a deep state of appreciation brings our heart activity and brain activity into alignment - they are literally moving in the same rhythms... talk about brain-body coherence!!! This just a has me in awe EVERY TIME I think about it. I'm not here today to list the benefits, but rather to offer you a few practices that you can use (and keep if you like) to access deeper or more consistent states of appreciation.
In the video above, I briefly introduce each practice and run you through them, with examples.
The practices in brief (and in writing) for those who can't watch or want notes to refer to!
1. Bring in your senses
Move through your senses as you find gratitude for different things you enjoy seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting, as well as sitting in a moment or three's gratitude for the senses themselves. ** IF a sense is not available to you at this point in time or is related to an IT or Bear, find gratitude for when it was and/or imagine it being available to you in the future. This may seem obvious, because as brain retrainers, we do this in our practices, but often we can forget to overlay the techniques we already know work with new tools.
2. Gratitude Chain
This one is a bit like a word-association game, and provides some good mental exercise too. 1. Begin with someone or something you are grateful for in your life. Marinate in the gratitude of that for however long feels good. 2. Link backwards in your mind to whatever pops up as the "link" that led you there (or brought that particular thing or person into your life). In the video, I give the example of being grateful for my son's smile, then I link back to my partner, as he helped me to create and raise my son 3. Keep linking along as long as you like, and spend as much time as you like feeling the gratitude at each stop of the way (or "link" of the chain).
eg. Son's smile >> My Partner >> Our relationship and the love and freedom within it >> His parents >> The relationships that broke down to make space for my partner's parents to meet >> My parents' divorce and the joy and love they have now found... I could go on, finding gratitude for the ways my parents met their partners, for the fact that my parents have an amicable relationship, for the fact they're alive and I can spend time with them, that they can be in my son's life etc etc. There are a few reasons I love this practice so much. One is that it can be a different journey each time, even if the original inspiration is the same. For example, I could find gratitude for my son's smile >> laughter and the laughter wellness training I did while I was pregnant >> for my mentor Connie >> for another mentor Dave >> for Connie introducing me to Dave >> to Laughter Gym (a group I am part of)... and so on... it'd have a different chain of things to be grateful for. The original version of this practice when I discovered it encouraged you to just go back to the connection that led you to that. I now just free-flow with whatever association pops to mind, and practicing self-trust and releasing the "need" to get it "right" or "perfect" is great brain training in itself. The second reason I love this practice is because it can help us to see the good in what was previously perceived negatively (eg. the divorces and breakups I referred to above may have been painful and difficult - as were break ups in my past that shaped me into who I was when I met my partner).
3. Gratitude Rant
I've heard that Abraham Hicks have something called a "gratitude rampage"... I don't know if it's the same as this or if that's where the lady I learned this from got the idea, but I love this practice and my clients do too.
Start with ANY gratitude and walk around or move your body in some way as you verbally flow with any and all things you have gratitude for. Some may feel amazing, others may feel flat. This is a great way to get the good vibes flowing, notice what you are most deeply grateful for and to work on your expressive flow as you just go with whatever comes up and outta your mouth. It helps (like most gratitude practices) to lock your Reticular Activating System onto the good in life... get excited for the awesome flow-on-effects that may follow! You may just see good popping up all over the place! So... which was your favorite practice? What are the ways you like to practice and express gratitude in your life? I'm grateful for YOU being here and I'd love to hear from you - so drop a comment below or get in touch!
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