Updated: Nov 4
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion that has studies that support it's positive effects on mental and physical health. Studies have shown gratitude can help improve sleep, mood and immunity. They also show it is emotion that can help decrease depression and anxiety. (ref:mayoclinichealthsystem.org)
Let me begin with, I don't believe in fake positivity. If we are in an extremely challenging situation, overwhelmed or just feeling triggered, we are going to feel anger, sadness, frustration, fear or a host of other emotions. This is fine. We are all human and experience the gamit of emotions. Don't attempt to be happy and postive all the time. We have all heard the expression by Carl Jung "what we resist persits". The more we push away negativity and disidentify with it the more we will feel it (even if is just an internal vibration). We must allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling. Our minds goes easier to the negative. This is because it activates our lymphatic system for survival reasons. We have to consciously bring the positive into our awareness.More than one emotion can exist simultaneously. What ever emotion we are feeling, let gratitude be it's companion. Make it a daily practice. You might want to keep a gratitude journal. What I realized with doing this as a daily practice, it helps me to see a broader picture of what is happening. Many more blessings surround us then we are aware of.
I also started to do this as internal practice in my relationships (friends, family, coworkers) . Let say someone does something that triggers me in some way, I bring my mind to is their anything in the person or situation I am grateful for. Is there something I need to see about myself? Is this situation reflecting some greater truth about myself. For example, lets say someone says something that my mind considers mean about me or something I did. What generally happens is our mind goes into a tail spin and wants to tell other people what this person said. We want someone to verify our point of view. I realize if I don't do this, but use it as my own reflection. What is my reaction showing me about me. I realized if one statement is throwing me off so much, am I confident in myself. What do I believe about myself. Does part of me believe what they are saying. Am I out sourcing my self worth to the outside world and even strangers. Do I allow one thing I said or did define as a whole.This is not about analysis , but just taking ownership. What I realized is when I approach situations from a place of compassion and more openess I am more likely to have a better discussion or outcome. I then feel connected to people on a deeper level. The negative situation will help me to move energy I stored. This helps me to see the situation with gratitude and the other person does not have to go into defense mode or feel negativity energy from me. The truth is none of us are always right, kind and says the right thing 100% of the time. There is Jamie Lawson song that says We all need a Little Mercy Sometimes. In our lives we will all at some point have to be on the receiving end of mercy. None of us are doing everything right. I think this an important point to remember and brings in compassion for the other. We just want to evolve as we go. Once we start to bring our minds regularly to gratitude, it becomes more natural. We start to see more positive parts of our everyday lives.
I do know the value of time. If you took the time to read this blog, I am grateful.