Gratitude gives you wings.
Posted on September 27, 2017
Expressing gratitude is a sure-fire ticket to helping flip the lens for which you experience the world and how you feel. Rather than seeing all that you don’t have, the path of gratitude helps ensconce yourself in a cocoon of appreciation for what you already have.
And this cocoon is magnetic. It’s full of positive energy that you release into the universe as much as bathe yourself in it.
This flood of appreciation activates parts of the brain that release dopamine, a potent neurochemical in the brain, that functions as a reward. This practice of gratitude can help keep your brain focused on a positive mindset.
“Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. On top of that your brain loves to fall for the confirmation bias, that is it looks for things that prove what it already believes to be true. And the dopamine reinforces that as well. So once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created.” ~ Alex Korb Ph.D.
Note: This isn’t about bypassing how you really feel. If you feel down or have negative emotions, the best thing you can do is allow yourself to feel what you feel. If needed, reach out to a friend, family member or therapist to help and then let the feeling go.
Imagine filling a balloon with the emotion then setting it free to fly away into the sky absorbed by the sun and stars. It can take many balloons to move through the built-up emotions that have been shoved down. But the more you allow your pain and grief and anger and anxiety to move through you, the less you store inside.
What gratitude can do, is help you shift your brain from only seeing negative, to seeing positive too.
Our brains have a negativity bias, it’s part of survival. But life is not an absolute, and it’s important to remember and to see and deeply feel the good in your life. Because it is there.
Whether waking up every morning and starting your day connecting with yourself this way, or ending the day recalling a few moments you were grateful for, it’s a beneficial practice to incorporate with physical and emotional benefits.
This isn’t simply about forming a list, like checking off a to-do, but really feeling the deep appreciation for what is already in your life. It’s expressing enoughness in life similar approaching the world through the lens that you are, already as you are, enough.
When you can anchor yourself to this, it uplifts you. Gratitude gives you wings.