Gratitude Is the Sixth Pillar of Joy:
Continuing with the eight Pillars of Joy found in Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama’s, TheBook of Joy, today I am going to share some of the material from the freeWebinar during the week of Thanksgiving. If you are missing the free webinars, please make sure you are signed upto receive weekly updates from at Constant Contact. Click on this link. Stay in touch and get the latest news andpsychotherapy tips by clicking here
Learn to FOCUS—ATTEND— and NURTURE
Do you know that there is a connection between gratitude and your hypothalamus? “Oh my, what is my hypothalamus? I have forgotten that important part of my brain since biology class.” This small almond shaped brain part has many important jobs inside of our bodies, such as regulating our temperature, food and water intake. However, one very important feature is that it regulates eight of the hormones that the pituitary gland creates, inclusive of oxytocin which is often referred to as the feel good or trust hormone. Research shows that the hypothalamus gland lights up when expressing or experiencing gratitude. Thus, gratitude is important to practice because it gives our brains a feel-good massage producing more feel-good emotions and feelings. Maybe we have falsely thought that practicing gratitude is for others but, we are the ones that really benefit in many positive ways by practicing gratitude.
I challenged the participants in the webinar to write down 100 things they are thankful for. That is not an easy task and took me several days to complete my own list. The purpose of this 100 item list is to help you become very specific and very aware of all of the things that you have to be grateful for. For instance, rather than just saying, I am thankful for my health (that one item has so many unique and valuable pieces as a part of health) say, I am thankful that I can see, hear, walk, talk, type, think, put words together to write an article like this, breathe, move, exercise, enjoy the taste of good food, have internal reactions to food that are bad for me, touch, sit, stand and am currently cancer free. That is a quick list of eighteen different areas of my health that I am thankful for. If you create your list, you may see that you list fifty things that are health related. By disciplining yourself to create this list you open up avenues of gratitude that you have not paid attention to before. The more specific you are in your list the more positive benefit you will receive.
Here is a diagram of our nine pre-wired, biological affects that are part of our hardware system. If you look at this closely you will see that six of theses affects are negative, one is neutral, meaning it can swing either way and only two or wired positively. Yes, evolutionary wise, the emotional system is stacked against us and in the middle of our hectic and chaotic schedules it is so hard to stay positive and grateful. Knowing this important fact, I hope, helps you truly understand that it is not your fault that you don’t walk around grateful every moment. However, now that you understand how much your brain needs for you to practice gratitude that you will set aside time each day to do positive things to support your vulnerable brain. Gratitude is about things that make your life better, help you smile more, and motivates you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. In The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama we find rich stories to encourage us along the way and simple research facts that we can put into practice. For instance, I will leave you with this nugget on page 247, “Research has shown that the simple act of smiling for as little as twenty seconds can trigger positive emotions, jump starting joy and happiness.” Maybe that is why the statues of the Buddha is always smiling.
This season focus on finding divine moments to be grateful for and actively look for small magical moments that make you smile. If you are going to make a list of 100 things that you are grateful for, think about the things that make you smile and you will be able to quickly add to your list. FOCUS–ATTEND –NURTURE!
Season Coaching Special: Got Holiday Blues?
Holiday’s are often times difficult. In less than a week, Thanksgiving will be happening and you may be experiencing dread, sadness, or anxiety in anticipation of what it will it be like this year.
Maybe you have suffered a death of a loved one this past year that will make this time especially difficult.
Maybe you are part of the LGBTQ family that has been banished from your family of origin.
Or, maybe the political climate has caused a huge divide around your Thanksgiving table.
There are many reasons Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays can be especially upsetting.
To help you alleviate some of the Holliday Stress, I am offering a Holiday coaching package that includes a huge discount for you. Three thirty minute virtual sessions for the price of one therapeutic hour, $175.00. Email me for more information.
If you have a friend or family member who you know is going through the Holiday blues please pass this offer on to them.
The offer is valid through December 20th, 2018.