Gratitude is Simple but Not Natural

Feeling grateful offers a cascade of benefits.

It brings amazing effects on mood and astounding improvements in both mental clarity and creativity.

Physiologists can see its enduring positive influences on the immune system, multiple hormones, and overall vigor.

Nonetheless, our natural state is worry.

We scan our lives for what is broken, unfinished, or threatening.  This tendency has significant survival advantages for our species.

So, what about gratitude and its benefits?

Despite our tendency to worry, we have a corrective mechanism:  free attention.

Our emotions result from whatever becomes the focus of our concentration.

Focus on sources of worry and sadness and your feelings will follow.  Shift attention to gratitude and you feel increasingly grateful.

Practice creates habits.  How would you like a habit of gratitude?

You can begin with an introspective exercise:  Pick an enjoyable event that happened recently.  (You need not stop with just one, of course.)

If you believe that your week was just unpleasant, then ask yourself what was the least unpleasant event that happened.  Sometimes we have to trick ourselves.

How about the past five years?  Find an event for which you are grateful in the past several years.  Five years ago, would you have been certain that this would have occurred?

What is something that you are hoping to put into your life during the next five years?  Now you have not only increased your gratitude, but added hope to the picture.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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