There really is no greater emotion that is felt than that of having appreciation and being thankful. Studies have shown that the act of being grateful daily can increase well-being and boost positive mood.
This is a daily necessity for me. Something I do every morning and every night.
I found myself on a walk the other day, solo for the first time in many weeks. Leaving my wonderful walking companion, audible, at the house. (For those that haven’t heard of audible, it’s an audiobook company, and most walks I am always listening to either a book or a podcast.)
This was a particularly hard, and intense day. It was filled with so many doubts and just tough conversations that had to be discussed. It took courage to go through some of the daily tasks, and it did feel good to strengthen that muscle but still not easy to work through. There is always a sense of soreness with working any muscle whether its emotional or physical. I knew I was triggered and I really needed a walk more than anything. I always know when I’m not in a good head space when the person that I love more than anyone, is on the receiving end of daggers or spears coming at her at top speed, my mother. She was trying to comfort me, as a wonderful mother would, but it spiraled me into a heated argument with her. Not one of my proudest moments. Never really are. (I have called back and apologized and explained myself, but it never seems good enough. You want to have the emotional intelligence to not react and to stay neutral. Ah, the joys of growing emotionally.) But after the argument, I decided that I needed a walk.
On my walk, maybe because it was the first time I decided to leave my iphone behind and just really be present, I found myself in a huge wave of gratefulness. Everything I saw and noticed on my walk produced such a europhic feeling. The sun was out after yesterday’s full day of rain. The temperature was beautiful. It was the Goldie locks of weather, not too hot and not too cold. The air was really crisp and smelled so fresh and alive. I walked by vibrant colors of yellows, oranges and reds. It was stunning. On these types of days, just being alive was the most amazing gift to be had and noticed. Just the ability to experience such a fantastic moment in life.
As a doctor, I see many people that don’t have the energy or the will or the ability due to pain, to take a walk or to get outside in this way. Some of my patients don’t have the eye sight to see the beautiful scenery as it unfolds. The gift of health is something I am daily grateful for. Something that I try never to take for granted. It is why I do what I do. At the end of the day, health is true wealth. It is something that we need daily to be thankful for.
Being thankful brings joy into anything we are doing. It is impossible to have envy or jealously when you are feeling grateful over something. It is impossible to be angry or rage when you are in a moment of appreciation. It is impossible in the moment of this intense positive feeling to feel despair or hopelessness. In that moment you release neuropeptides and neurotransmitters that travel the body and have the ability to affect your hormones and immune system. It has profound changes on your physiology (ie health of the body), just like it does on your mood.
Having a grateful meditation or even moments in the day where you make time for this practice, can be truly life changing. I recommend this practice to many individuals whether they are trying to find self-compassion or trying to really reshape their lives so that they can overcome challenges of chronic illness.
Lifestyle hack: Start with a gratitude journal in the morning to start your day off with the right mindset. You can also do grateful journal entry at night to complete the day. Try both and see what really motivates you. I usually do it at night and in the morning. I feel like it’s a great way to diffuse the days events. And a great starting point in the morning.
Another idea is that you can do a gratitude jar. When you have a day filled with something good – you can add it to the jar. Pick a day in the week, and on that day go through your beautiful memories in the jar. You will be lifted by the remembrance of such great moments.
I am so grateful for you regarding this post!! 🙂