THE ART OF GRATITUDE…

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Have you heard this saying before? It’s something that’s becoming increasingly popular as the spotlight of humanity turns a little more towards Mental Health, and quite rightly so. It’s unfortunately evermore present on the news; tales of teenagers who have barely begun to live but feel they can’t go on a minute more and the shock statistic that the biggest killer of men is suicide!

No matter what is holding you back, on any given day, I truly believe it can be helped by stopping in your tracks and listing all the things you have to be grateful for.

It’s really quite simple and actually a proven cognitive technique – the positives are threefold: stopping in your tracks is an instant way of drawing on mindfulness – you cease the worry, panic and distress for just a few moments to focus on one train of thought only and that brings you back to a place of relative calm and restores factory settings if you like.

Secondly, thinking of things you are grateful for will flush your motherboard with positive images, no doubt of faces you love and things that bring you joy – an instant hit of love!

Thirdly, the repetition of positive thoughts will act like a mantra and will reset your brain’s negativity slant allowing you to carry on and face things with a better outlook. Practising this daily will eventually re-train your subconscious!

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Did you know:

It has recently been scientifically proven that consistent practice of  ‘the art of gratitude’ can fundamentally change your bodies chemistry encouraging a more peaceful body and mind.

According to an article published by Psychology Today a recent study found that subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus.

“This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge array of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and stress levels. From this evidence on brain activity it starts to become clear how improvements in gratitude could have such wide-ranging effects from increased exercise, and improved sleep to decreased depression and fewer aches and pains.”

Furthermore, separate tests showed that feelings of gratitude directly activated brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine.

“Dopamine feels good to get, which is why it’s generally considered the “reward” neurotransmitter. But dopamine is also almost important in initiating action. That means increases in dopamine make you more likely to do the thing you just did. It’s the brain saying, ‘Oh, do that again.'”

Like anything new, practising gratitude takes time and some days are harder than others. Find your way – for some keeping a gratitude jar or diary is the best and for others, myself included, its enough to just repeat over and over during quiet times or times of need how much I am grateful for everything around me and then further out into the big stuff like my husband, my beautiful kids and my health.

Start small with what you see…Right now I am grateful for my great Mac computer, my new faster internet which allows me to get this article to you and of course to you for reading it. I am also grateful for the fact that you are going to share it with your friends. Ha!

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