❝Gratitude creates deep humility within the spirit, this you’ll find to be incredibly rewarding❞
Yesterday I was travelling to a beautiful part of the country, looking forward to the day ahead and whilst talking to my husband, I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of appreciation for what I have, a feeling of immense gratitude, I would not call it elation, but it was certainly on the spectrum. I can only describe it as a truly warm feeling within my chest, it seemed to powerfully radiate out and up, making me feel naturally, and intuitively, well. And then, as I thought, one by one, about all I have to be grateful for, I realised something. Indeed, although this feeling hit me all of a sudden, that is, I was not looking for it, or consciously attempting to feel it; I realised how beneficial it could be to summon it, and this is something we all have the power to do for ourselves.
Indeed, I am a big believer in the power of psychology for the body and physical health, and science too has recognised this to be the case. For instance, meditation has been shown to increase brain function, and even the amount of grey matter in the brain, diminishing anxiety, depression, and boosting concentration, attention, and overall psychological wellbeing – there is undeniably something in the power of the mind and its ‘medicinal’ effect on the body. Just as surely stress releases ‘stress hormones’ like cortisol (which in fact encumbers the function of two ‘happy’ hormones), creating a cumulative effect, becoming toxic and unmanageable, impacting the body in detrimental ways, so too can positive thinking facilitate the opposite by releasing ‘feel-good’ hormones and neurotransmitters, which positively affect mood, mental health, emotional health, and physical health too.
Therefore, the benefits for wellbeing, that this kind of exercise has should not be underestimated. Think about it, we often concentrate on negative things without much effort. But, if we could just catch that feeling of gratitude instead, by perhaps taking a little time out of our day to think about all we feel fortunate to have received from the universe, or God, or whatever we believe in, this could certainly lay the foundation for a sense of contentment, holding the potential to create an undercurrent of ‘happiness’. This may feel difficult and forced to begin with, especially when we do not feel particularly good, but this is perhaps when it is needed the most. And as time goes on, with practice, it may become easier and feel more natural, providing bountiful reward.
So today, I will be taking some quality time to mindfully think about what I have to be grateful for, but more than this, I will consciously attempt to feel it. I hope you’ll join me in this (sometimes) effortful, but enduringly meaningful practice.