THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
Welcome to #Wellness Wednesday everyone. It just happens to be the day before Thanksgiving and the perfect time to count our blessings and express Gratitude for all we have and for all we are. Indeed, the Thanksgiving holiday began when the colonists gave thanks for the success of the autumn harvest and for their first year of survival.
But, WHAT EXACTLY IS GRATITUDE? What does it really mean? Well, to begin the word gratitude comes from the Latin word Gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. And, from this we get “grazie,” which of course, is “thank you” in Italian.
So, for most of us gratitude is the action of saying “thank you” to someone for a favor, a kindness or a gift.
From a scientific perspective, however, gratitude is much more complicated and complex. It’s been categorized as a mood, a habit, a personality trait, an emotional coping response and a general way of life.
Personally, I like to think of gratitude as a state of being. A state of being that has its own vibrational quality. A state of being that manifests an energy of wellness, peace, warmth and joy within – and then expands without to the world around us.
After all, when we feel happy about something – or grateful for something – we don’t experience anger or stress or anxiety. We don’t feel burdened or obligated or suspicious. On the contrary, we typically feel good. We feel positive. We feel generous and reassured and comfortable.
But, for some of us it takes a trigger to activate this response of gratitude. It takes an exceptional turn of events. Or a fabulous wonderful surprise. Or an unexpected spurt of good luck.
Yet, for true gratitude to become a state of being it should not be dependant upon external factors. It should be something manufactured internally and expressed every day. We should feel gratitude not for what we still desire but for what we already have. More to the point, gratitude must be created and cultivated to give thanks in spite of the fact we don’t have everything we want. In spite of not living in a perfect world. In spite of the problems and difficulties and challenges we face throughout our lives.
Because, even though gratitude is a good thing it’s not always an easy thing. So, how do we move from being someone who’s grateful sometimes – to someone who’s actually a more grateful person? Someone who actually lives in a state of grace, graciousness and grateful being – no matter what.
It may be easier than you think. It just takes a few small exercises practiced every day. Just in time for the holidays, here are 3 FOOL-PROOF AND FAIL-SAFE STRATEGIES FOR CREATING LASTING GRATITUDE AND GRACE:
- SAY IT OUT LOUD. There’s a lot of power in the spoken word. And, declaring AFFIRMATIONS every day is a great way to change our mindset. Literally. You see, thanks (and with Gratitude) to a nifty little thing called neuroplasticity we can change the way our brain works. Every time we say, “I am thankful for my health,” or “I’m so grateful for this sunny morning,” or “I give thanks for every flower in my garden” we are creating new neural pathways in our brain. The more we do this, the stronger these pathways become. Eventually, these pathways become our brain’s new mode of functioning and these thankful thoughts become our natural response to everyday situations. It will become harder and harder for our mind to linger on negative thoughts. And, in turn we become more joyful, peaceful and grateful. What is created within will radiate without. Always.
- BRING ON THE MUSIC. MUSIC is one of life’s great blessings. It’s been said that, “music soothes the savage beast.” But why? Well, music is really nothing more than vibration. And, different vibrations create an energy field of like vibrations all around them. It’s like a ripple in a pond. Beautiful music creates a beautiful vibration. This creates a similar vibration within our minds and bodies. Science reveals that music can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and improve our immune system. Music can create within us a sense of peace, restfulness and contentment. And, when this happens we feel good. We feel renewed. We appreciate the world around us more. And in this state, gratitude becomes a natural response. What is created within will radiate without. Again.
- DON’T FORGET TO SMILE. Never underestimate the power of a SMILE. Be it forced or natural, smiling tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy. The physical act of smiling floods our brain with “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. A smile – like an affirmation – creates new neural pathways in the brain that open the doors to more positive thinking and an elevated mood. A smile increases the production of GABA, which is our body’s natural tranquilizer. Smiling changes our internal wiring creating feelings of mild euphoria, heightened self-esteem, mental calm and relaxation. And, when we feel this good feeling grateful becomes a part of our being. What is created within will radiate without. Once more.
The truly remarkable thing about affirmations, music and smiling is that the changes they create are cumulative. The more we incorporate them into our lives, the more we become a being of positivity and enlightenment. And in turn, we become a more grateful person – one who actually lives in a state of expanded grace, graciousness and gratitude.
It’s the season for being grateful. For counting our blessings. For appreciating everything we have, everything we are and everything we love. And, I’m so grateful to you for joining me today. May you have a Wonderful and Peaceful Thanksgiving. And, may you enjoy it in GOOD HEALTH with those you love and hold dear. Until next time be well and . . .