“The genius of evolution lies in the dynamic tension between optimism and pessimism continually correcting each other.”
Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, anxiety, stress, and a multitude of other challenging emotions cannot reside in the same space as gratitude and appreciation. When we take a moment to shine a light on the things we are grateful for in our life, it can free us up, if even for a fleeting moment, from challenging emotions that we experience.
Although challenging emotions are a natural part of life, when we allow ourselves to drown in them, they can cause a cascading of neurotransmitters within our brains that have a direct impact on body’s immune system. Over time, the flooding of these neurotransmitters in our system can lead to chronic fatigue, illness, and greatly limit our ability to cope with stress.
The practice of gratitude has been proven to change our physiological state and is a trainable skill that can be developed. There are numerous ways that we can practice gratitude in our lives. Just like meditation, it can be difficult to find flow and rhythm and it is easy to get distracted, but bringing more gratitude into our lives can have a very positive impact on our sense of well-being especially during times of distress.
Even in its simplest form, gratitude can take shape in many different ways. Here is a list of questions for you to think about. As you reflect on these questions, the most important thing is that you genuinely drop yourself into the feelings that come with authentically answering them. You can write your answers down, share your answers with a loved one, or simply answer them in the silence of your own mind.
Gratitude is precious. If you can answer even one of these questions and it cause the slightest shift within yourself, that is the feeling of gratitude in action.
Practice this as much as possible. Thanks for reading.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily