A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. — James E. Faust
The purpose of our brain is to help us survive, not to make us happy. What does this mean exactly?
The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones — Rick Hanson
We are biologically wired to focus much more on a threat than on something good that happens in our life. Think about it. When you do the same thing well 10 times and you screw it up once, what experience will you remember? 😉
How can we counteract this negative bias? A very effective way consists in making being grateful a habit by keeping a gratitude journal, where you list daily 3 to 5 things you are grateful for on that day. Try to notice the small things that you normally take for granted: the warmth of the sun, the call of a friend, a good coffee, a good night sleep, and so on. You can also try to pick something different everyday.
Remember, it is important to establish a daily practice because the way you rewire your brain is through repeating an action or a thought over and over again. If you are not a very methodical person, set a reminder on your mobile phone or leave the journal on your pillow. What if you forget to stay committed for one or more days? Do not beat yourself up! Just accept it and start again. Simple, right? 🙂
To make this practice effective the secret is the following: do not just think about something you are grateful for, feel grateful! Over time, as you start to sense more your internal energy, you will experience an immediate internal shift anytime you feel grateful for something 🙂
If you are curious about this topic watch the wonderful TED talk given by Brother David Steindl-Rast about the importance of gratitude: Want to Be Happy Be Grateful.
The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. — Brother David Steindl-Rast
Are you willing to join me in making being grateful a habit? 🙂
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