Many of us are reeling from all the turmoil and horror in the world right now. It may take a bit of imagination but stepping back and focusing on those things we feel grateful for might help us rediscover our inner balance. Research has shown that gratitude as a practice also seems to connect us to the things we take for granted and brings us in to the moment.
A few years ago I worked with a woman who had a chronic illness and felt for a long time that her body had let her down. Slowly, over time, in therapy she has softened towards her body and been amazed at how much her body did for her daily, to keep her in her life. “I always focus on my heart” she said “it works so hard and I often just sit with it’s beating and try to feel enormously grateful for all its work”.
Gratitude is now being recognised as a real tonic for the mind and body, by focusing on what we are grateful for we also flood the brain with feel good serotonin and dopamine, giving it a much needed break from over thinking. Gratitude also requires us to step back from ourselves and our lives, reinforcing the simple things that connect us to others.
Finding three things at the end of a long day to be grateful for, connects us to our compassionate self and calms the mind. My list often feels a bit insignificant, such as a great chat with my best friend in the park, the sun on my face or an amazing cup of coffee, but these things resonate in my life and feel precious.