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Monday, August 22, 2016

10 Reasons to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Daily Routine


A multitude of scientific studies all give the same results: feeling and focusing on gratitude is highly beneficial for your physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual health. More and more of these studies are being funded since this information first hit the airwaves some six years ago and in my monthly newsletter article in October 2006, titled Happiness: Has it Become a Science or is it a Question of Luck?, I referred to what were at that time, recent studies, indicating that amazingly, the most important component to maintaining and/or raising our level of happiness is accomplished by keeping a gratitude journal.  

Today I’d like you to encourage you to contemplate ten excellent reasons that demonstrate exactly why you should make gratitude an integral component of your daily routine … not something to do occasionally, or when you wake up, or when you go to bed, but to integrate it into your daily life in such a way that it is always there – in your conscious awareness - in some fashion, just as your awareness of the amount of light where you are is always present. It can easily (and painlessly) become second nature, if only you choose for gratitude to occupy that place in your life.
  1. Gratitude lowers your stress levels as measured by blood pressure and perspiration and breathing. Because you focus on something that gives you a certain amount of happiness or pleasure, gratitude is capable of affecting you on these very physiological levels. If you think for a moment of a grinding problem in your life and note how it makes you feel, and then switch your focus to something beautiful in your surroundings, allowing yourself to feel gratitude for it being there (the blue sky, a frolicking puppy, a bold purple bougainvillea climbing up a white-washed garden wall, a contagiously laughing child behind a wrought-iron gate, the elusive scent of a night jasmine, the full moon in a star-lit sky, the burst of flavor in your mouth as you bite into a ripe peach, etc.), you will note that you immediately feel very different compared to how you felt a moment ago.

  2. Gratitude increases your levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and attentiveness as indicated in several studies.
    What happens when you think about a huge pile of work that needs to be done? Don’t you feel a bit overwhelmed, perhaps even tired, just by thinking about it? Now quickly think about spending a two week vacation on Bora-Bora or traveling around a country you have yet to explore, perhaps Istanbul and the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Didn’t you immediately feel more alert and enthused? It’s exactly the same thing again with gratitude.

  3. Sleep duration and sleep quality are also positively affected by gratitude as indicated in the same studies.
    We all know what happens to the quality of our sleep when we are worried and stressed. And what happens when our lives flow? When things are going well? Again, by focusing on gratitude, we get a similar effect, even when things are not flowing.

  4. By creating a good feeling inside of you, gratitude literally changes your energetic frequency.
    It follows that if you change from a not so good feeling to a better one, your inner state of energy will increase, or quicken. Raising the energy of what you focus on, raises your energy in many different ways. Focus on a war movie with much devastation, grayness, desperation and mindless torture and killing, or focus on a movie such as A Beautiful Mind or Eat, Pray, Love and you will clearly feel the energetic difference. Focusing on gratitude for something in your life, something as simple as the examples in the first point of this article, and you will immediately notice the change in energy.

  5. Gratitude allows you to shift your perspective about the matters you had been contemplating prior to feeling the gratitude. 
    When you change your inner energy, as established in the previous points, you will be in a new place inside your body, mind, heart, and spirit. This position in the new feeling and thinking place will allow you to see whatever problem you are currently facing from a new perspective because when you feel better, you can see things differently. This may even allow you to more easily find a solution to your situation.

  6. Gratitude strengthens the neural pathway that demonstrates to you that you are capable of choosing to focus elsewhere whenever you wish. 
    As you focus on gratitude again and again, noticing the increase in energetic frequency, noticing that you do feel better by focusing on gratitude, you are not only creating a new habit and hence, creating and strengthening a new neural pathway to the detriment of earlier formed neural pathways that do not serve you well, but you are also creating the neural pathway of belief in your own power to change your focus as and when you wish in order to benefit yourself. And once you believe that changing how you feel is in your power and not in the power of your circumstances, you are embarked on the road towards inner peace and freedom.

  7. Gratitude strengthens another very important neural pathway that begins to determine that you prefer to be in this place of inner well-being that you achieve as you focus on gratitude, as opposed to the place you were in before you exercised your feelings of gratitude. 
    If you lived in a studio apartment as a student, and then started earning money and moved into a three bedroom home, you soon become habituated to more space. If you are accustomed to eating in fast food places and one day you start going to five star restaurants, you soon become habituated to a superior quality of food, surroundings and service. In the same way you rapidly become accustomed to being in a much better energetic place – a place of much greater inner well-being – once you begin to choose to focus on gratitude throughout your day. Being accustomed to being there, means that you will adjust back to being there quickly, on the occasions that you stray off the path energetically. 

  8. By becoming a habit, gratitude automatically allows you to remain in a much better inner space that is not easily perturbed. 
    The stronger the habit, the more robust the neural pathway that is associated to your choice to focus on gratitude throughout your day. As this begins to become the normal place in which you live (i.e., a better place of inner well-being), it is much harder to perturb that place. In other words in the same way in which someone who trains at the gym on a regular basis, or someone who power walks or runs on a regular basis, has a physical condition that is harder to knock off kilter, so it also applies to someone who has chosen to have a continual feeling of inner well-being, and who will therefore not be easily thrown into a negative place no matter what the outer circumstances. 

  9. Gratitude causes you to focus on the now as opposed to focusing on past pain or sorrow, or focusing on future worries. 
    Just for a moment think of something that is worrying you. For another moment think of something that caused you pain in the past. Now focus on something you are grateful for … perhaps the warmth of the sunshine flooding through your window, or the aroma of cinnamon coming from your kitchen, or the brilliance of the sun in the sky. Now evaluate: while you were focused on feeling gratitude, you no longer had the future worry or the past pain in your mind and emotions. The gratitude left no room for it – not if you allowed the gratitude to flood your being for that moment. And the reason for that is the fact that focusing on gratitude takes you – immediately – to the NOW where there is no room for thoughts and emotions from the past or future. It is a place of utter peace. 

  10. Experiencing gratitude implies that your ego cannot dominate you because it can only dominate when you are not in the now. 
    Using the term ego in the sense that it is that part of you that has untold unwanted thoughts that you feel you are not in control of, thoughts that in turn take you to untold feelings over which you also have no control, then by focusing on gratitude and bringing yourself into the now as explained in the previous point, your ego – all those unwanted thoughts and unwanted emotions brought about by those thoughts, no longer has the power to dominate you. The one that you are when you are in the now is the eternal you, the divine you, the you that always was and always will be and hence, the you that is not the ego.
Consider these points throughout your day. They are simple. They work. Your life improves. Your subconscious thought patterns and beliefs change. Your inner well-being increases and this new increased level of well-being becomes second nature.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

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