INTENTIONAL GRATITUDE AND THE BENEFITS ON THE BODY, BRAIN AND EVERYONE YOU ENCOUNTER
Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.
— Kahlil Gibran
Thanksgiving is almost here. And though you might be looking forward to visiting family and eating a sumptuous dinner, holiday events can be stressful. Anxiety can trigger hormones that flood your body with powerful, sometimes harmful, hormones, keeping your brain on high alert and ramping up your heartbeat.
Well, that doesn’t sound like something to feel grateful about, does it? Let’s begin again…
There is another emotional route you can choose this Thanksgiving, something I call intentional gratitude. Recent neuro-science reveals that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude. Like happiness, gratitude doesn’t occur by itself, we must consciously choose it. And Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make that choice. As we mindfully focus our attention and intention on all that we have to be grateful for, we increase our well-being. Further, feeling grateful and expressing it to others increases our energy, positivism and empathy. In addition to experiencing more positive energy, studies show that those around you benefit just as much. That “pleasurable-glow” you feel throughout your body radiates an electromagnetic field touching those you encounter. The heart emits an electromagnetic field that extends several feet from our bodies and is approximately 60 times stronger than the energy emitted by the brain!
Could gratitude be the most important factor in relationships? Perhaps. The University of California-Berkeley published research that nails the power of gratitude in romantic relationships. Check this out: People who feel appreciated by their romantic partners are more likely to reciprocate appreciation and are more responsive to their partners’ feelings, needs and desires. And the real kicker is that those partnerships oozing with gratitude are more committed and more likely to sustain long-term intimate relationships.
Set your intention to experience the countless benefits of gratitude by trying these easy and quick practices:
1. Imagine the face of someone you love deeply, a partner, child, parent or beloved pet.
2. Think back to the last time you felt truly appreciated and savor the experience.
3. Notice everything—big and small—that you feel grateful for, don’t skimp. This is the art of cultivating radical gratitude which can lead to on-going happiness.
4. Tell someone “thank you” or “I appreciate you being in my life,” today, tomorrow, the next day and so on—keep going!
These practices sound almost too easy to be effective, but in reality, they have the power to open our hearts and the hearts of everyone we encounter. Gratitude is rewarding. Gratitude feels good. Gratitude boosts our mood whether we are the giver or the receiver. Place your intention on all that you feel grateful for, then watch how gratitude activates the pleasure-pathway in the brain and floods your body with all kinds of amazing, positive feelings.
Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading this blog and spreading good vibes. Happy Thanksgiving!