Would you agree that it’s easy to be positive and optimistic when life is good? When the sun is shining, our relationships are good, we’re healthy, our job is satisfying..... it’s almost effortless to have a smile on our face, see our cup as half full, and our future as bright, right?
But, what happens when tragedy strikes? When we lose something..... our job, our security, our health, a loved one...... what happens then? It’s much harder to be optimistic, in fact we tend to be ambivalent, living life on autopilot, just putting one foot in front of the other without much thought or reflection of where we are, where we’re going...... or we’re pessimistic about our present circumstance, and our future. Thoughts like “Why me? Why is this happening to me”? Or “What did I do to deserve this”? Send us spiralling into negative victim-land where it’s dark and lonely.
I believe the key is gratitude. When you cultivate, practice, and express gratitude in your daily life you open the gate to optimism. Creating a daily practice ensures that you are equipped with an attitude of gratitude through the hills and valleys of life that are inevitable. Daily gratitude practice also builds up a supply of joy that’s unsurpassed. It’s in those valleys, in the times of adversities, challenges, obstacles, when it’s MOST important to practice gratitude, because when we have that mindset shift, that’s when the real magic happens!
Gratitude has become one of those buzz-words lately, more familiar and more popular in an age where self-discovery and personal development is more common place than was in the past. Right? But, there is scientific research on gratitude and it’s benefits to our brain and our lives.
According to Harvard Health the benefits of gratitude are nearly endless: more optimistic, better health, improved relationships and happier. We often hear about the ‘power of gratitude’ for creating a more positive and happy mental state, but did you know that gratitude literally transforms your brain?
Researchers at UCLA state that ‘expressing gratitude regularly’:
Changes the molecular structure of the brain,
Keeps the gray matter functioning,
And of course, makes us healthier and happier.
It is not enough to express gratitude when things are going well in our lives. To create and effect real positive change we need to cultivate, practice, and express gratitude daily. It is only then that we will reap the benefits of a habit formed that will positively impact our physical and mental health. It is only then that we will unlock the key to health, happiness, and optimism.
“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see”. Dr. Robert Holden
And the best thing of all..... gratitude reciprocates.