A new habit I created this past year was to start every morning thinking about what I was grateful for. To create the habit, I intentionally started every morning with a few minutes of silence with only my thoughts, literally counting my blessing. Doing so allowed me to focus on all the good in my life, not the things that were not perfect.
This morning, while walking my dog, I realized I was doing it automatically, without prompt. It's not even something I needed to even try to remember to do. My thoughts almost always now naturally gravitate toward the good in every situation, and even when they don't I'm able to "reset" to a more positive attitude much faster than ever.
As you can imagine, this benefits just about every aspect of my life from my family and work to even my own personal health and fitness.
The practice of intentionally spending time every morning counting my blessings has paid off, and fortunately, the habit is just as ingrained into me as pouring a cup of coffee in the morning.
I truly believe gratitude is the answer to feeling happy, no mater what your situation. If you don't already have a gratitude habit, I would like to encourage you to start now as just one way to boost your health.
Taking the time to really FEEL gratitude really is so good for your health. In this post I’m going to talk about why that is … and also share a few things that I’m grateful for this year to show you how easy it is to start this daily practice.
First of all, what is gratitude, exactly?
Well, one of my favorite definitions of gratitude comes from world renowned psychologist Robert Emmons: “Gratitude is a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”
Here’s an amazing quote by David Steindl-Rast:
“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.
When it becomes a daily practice, gratitude changes everything… right down to the wiring in your brain!
According to UCLA's Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude actually changes the molecular structure of your brain. It helps keep it functioning, and it literally can make you healthier and happier!
Researchers at the center found that gratitude and mindfulness helps improve your sleep, sharpen your thinking, and improve your immune system.
In fact, gratitude can help create new neural connections to your brain’s “bliss” center and improve the flow of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters responsible for happiness.
It also helps regulate your stress hormones, which can help reduce fear and anxiety.
Also, if you’re having a bad day, taking a moment to distract yourself by thinking about something that’s actually going WELL can turn it around. That’s because your brain has only so much energy to focus, so when you shift your thoughts to something positive – even if it’s something small – it can help turn your mood around.
Pretty amazing, right?
I thought I’d share a few things I personally am thankful for right now.
So, what can you be thankful for today? I’d love to know! Share a comment in our Facebook Community with one thing you’re feeling thankful for!
I can’t forget one more thing – I’m super thankful for your support. Being able to share my love for wellness and fitness with you is an incredible gift, and I appreciate it every single day.
If there’s any way I can help you reach your goals, please contact me anytime.