Updated: Dec 28, 2019
I love this time of year. Everything pumpkin, cooler weather, boots and sweaters, carrying my orange purse I bought in Italy on my honeymoon (is that just me??). All kidding aside, I do absolutely love fall; nature's last grand performance before sleep is spectacular here in Austin. The Cypress along the river are breathtaking and a walk around them can't help but make you feel grateful.
In life it is hard to feel grateful at times. It seems that the world is so negative and we are hard wired to look for things that are going wrong rather than things that are going right. Our brains are actually wired that way, it turns out. There are entire regions of our brains that are hard wired for survival or being alert to threats. Our ancestors were kept alive this way. But what about us? While being aware of threats is important, it seems that everywhere we turn fear and negativity are the driver for so many things. It leaves us in a negative state that weighs us down and leads to general unhappiness and eventually can contribute to depression and anxiety.
So how do we get out of it? There is a simple first step we can do and that is to be grateful. Being grateful can effect our minds and shift us into a state of looking for the good in things rather than the negative. It changes the chemistry in our brains and starts to release feel good neurons, which in turn shift awareness. On an energetic level, when we are in a state of negativity we tend to project outside of ourselves, into the future, the past, or some other place in the world other than where we are. This depletes our energy and causes us to feel scattered and lowers productivity. Starting a gratefulness practice helps us to come back to our bodies and stay there because it creates a safe space for our energy to reside, breaking the fight or flight pattern. Being grateful is simple and you can start this very minute.
In your mind, think of one thing you are grateful for. It can be as simple as, I am grateful I am breathing. Take a deep breath as you have that thought. Hold it in your mind. Now, choose something else and repeat. If you can say it out loud, do so. This anchors it in a different way in your body. Every time you find yourself in a negative space, do this practice. It can be the beginning of an amazing shift.
Do it morning an night
When you start off the day with three things you are grateful for before your feet hit the floor in the morning, you are setting yourself up for a more positive day, even if things go wrong. When you go to bed at night, end your day with a few positive, grateful thoughts. It is said to improve sleep and dream states. Some people swear by a gratitude journal, as writing down what you are grateful for more deeply anchors these thoughts into your being.
What are you grateful for? Let me know how this practice helps you on a daily basis.