Mindful Gratitude Gives You Energy!
The December holidays are so loaded with messages of consumerism that it can be difficult to remember to be grateful. However, making a commitment to practice gratitude with mindfulness and awareness has tremendous benefits.
My goal is to help you take a step back and practice some mindfulness about gratitude. For those of you that don’t know, mindfulness is all about thinking about what we think about.
Gratitude can actually bring us energy. Purposefully turning our thoughts to our gifts and blessings can transform our focus from what is negative to what is positive. Positive energy brings happiness, enthusiasm and creativity.
Are your thoughts on autopilot?
Left to their own devices, our thoughts will tend toward the negative. This is especially true in this day of constant media exposure. We are bombarded with stories of war, political turmoil, shootings, etc. The media devotes very little coverage to positive, upbeat stories. Reality shows are full of insults and back biting. TV dramas are increasingly violent. It can be difficult to stay positive in the face of this.
I believe this is one of the many reasons that talk of mindfulness has become so prevalent. We need to start paying attention to what we are thinking. This gives us the power to decide for ourselves whether we will empower our thoughts with gratitude and positivity.
A great example of this is our driving. Think about the last time you took a familiar route. You didn’t have to pay attention to the route so you probably spent the trip focused on your to do list, or an issue or perhaps planning for your next meeting. That is how our brain works. It takes the easy route and follows the familiar paths. There is a range of statistics on this, but I’ve read that we think the same thoughts from 75% up to 90% of the time!
It is much easier to kick start our brain to be more creative than we think. Our brains are much more flexible than we realize. Using the driving analogy, imagine trying a new route. Or noticing something you never noticed before. I just went into a store that I had passed a million time and found the perfect gift for a friend of mine. I decided to start looking around me on my familiar routes and it made a difference.
Create New Thoughts Around Gratitude!
Imagine what would happen if we started creating new thoughts. Let’s face it – some of our familiar thoughts are not all that productive! It can be very easy to re-live past mistakes over and over again. Or to worry about some future event, imagining a lot of worst case scenarios. This thinking does no good and blocks us from productive action. It causes us unnecessary anxiety. You can break those cycles by looking instead at what is good in your life.
We can change the direction of our thoughts as we change the direction of our car – but we need to pay attention and become aware of our thoughts in order to make that change.
Even the smallest thing you can be thankful can start a brain change. Try looking at the fall leaves, a sunset, or even just a cloud in the sky! It’s like taking a new way to work and realizing that it’s actually a shorter route with less traffic. Gratitude can turn our thinking into a new positive direction that can generate new ideas and make us feel better.
So, the next time you start to get overwhelmed by the stress of the holidays, take a moment to stop and think about your blessings. Focus on your family, your friends, your gifts. Turn off the TV or radio. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Take a moment to really look at all the good in your life. It will help you feel happier, more positive and energized!
You can schedule an appointment with me today to see how I can help you be more grateful.