Gratitude on the Brain

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance”

Eckhart Tolle

Lately I’ve been waking up more tired than I did when I went to bed the night before. With summer just beginning, everything seems to be getting really busy all at once. With this new busyness, it has been hard to find time to take a break and catch up on myself. This has led to a lot more stress and, unfortunately, a lack of quality sleep as well.

While this has been the case for the last few weeks, yesterday seemed to be the exception. I finally found a moment to catch my breath; and with it, I decided to do something I haven’t had the opportunity to do in a while–which is to swim!

After getting the bulk of what I needed done for the day over with, I took a deep plunge in the nearest pool to where I’m living now. (Which, lucky for me, is only a short walk from my front door).

While swimming, I began to notice the small ripples being made on the water’s surface. Since there was no one else in the pool, I knew they were from me. I began swimming slower to notice the sun reflecting off each ripple and creating what looked like a blue and white kaleidoscope moving across the top of the water. It was beautiful.

Although simple, this moment filled me with gratitude. I was grateful for the beautiful scene in front of me, the warm sun on my back, and the amazing ability my body has to see, feel, and do all the things it does on a daily basis.

While reflecting upon this experience, it has brought me to the sweet realization that gratitude is a huge key to happiness within this life. Although things may never go as planned (all thanks to Murphy’s Law), we can still live with peace as we reflect and show gratitude for the things that so often go right.

And if you don’t want to take my word for it, there have been multiple studies conducted showing how powerful the effects of gratitude can be on overall happiness and wellbeing. One of which pointed out that keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness! This can lead to greater health and happiness overall–if that’s not a good incentive to be grateful, I’m not sure what is!

There are so many things to be grateful for that it would be impossible to list them all (although I’ve definitely found that some days are much harder to find the good in than others!). But as we do our best to list even a few things, it often leads to a chain reaction until we’re listing one grateful thing after another. And the more I meaningfully list, the better I tend to feel.

So whether it’s the first thing you do in the morning, the last thing you do at night, or anywhere in between, be sure to exercise your gratitude muscles at least once a day–because the more you think thankful thoughts, the greater those neural pathways become in your brain, and the happier you will feel in the end.

I want to leave you all with one more quote–I think it fits perfectly, so I’m just going to leave it here and hope that it sinks in for you as much as it did for me.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”


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