Of all the practices we have at our disposal to align ourselves with the will and love of the Universe, none are as vital or essential as Gratitude. It is through this practice that all other practices flow and we can ultimately fulfill our purpose. Without it, little else will function properly. Simply put- Gratitude is the only true state of being. If ever we feel anything else, we are out of alignment and Gratitude sets us straight.
Why is Gratitude so special?
For starters, the health benefits of Gratitude are as varied as they are clear. According to research conducted by psychology professor *Robert Emmons at the University of California in Davis, those who practice Gratitude “take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations”. More specifically, other studies conducted on 1st-year law students under stress showed that those who characterized themselves as more optimistic actually maintained higher numbers of blood cells protecting their immune system. In fact, studies have found links between the act of being thankful and measurable effects on multiple body and brain systems, including mood neurotransmitters, social bonding hormones, cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters, inflammatory and immune systems, cardiac and EEG rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
But there’s another, more pointed reason too: evolution. As explained by *Renee Jain, certified coach of positive psychology, we each “have something called a negativity bias where 'bad stuff' in our life outweighs the good by a measure of about 3:1.” We have this, because at one point it helped us “survive threats in our environment.” This bias is why we vividly recall the burning pain of touching a hot stove, but focus little on the joy and warmth of the sun while swimming on a hot summer’s day. Unlike the sun’s warmth, remembering the pain from the stove helps keep us alive. Gratitude however, acts a counterweight, balancing out the negative thoughts with positive ones to remind us that the Universe is a GOOD place. Through a Gratitude practice we are able to fight back against the outdated paradigms of human history and literally hasten our own evolution and growth. With Gratitude, we can see universal truths (such as “the Universe is abundant”) instead of selective facts (such as “I don’t have much money in bank account right now”).
So why 30 days exactly?
If Gratitude is essential to being one with the Universe, repetition and consistency are essential to practicing Gratitude. As with every practice, Gratitude is not an event, but rather a state of being. Cultivating true happiness and alignment as a continuous way of life often result more from changing one’s habits and routines, and less from specific external events or circumstances. As Churchill liked to say, “to improve is to change; to be perfect, is to change often.” And there are scientific reasons why repetition is key to making those changes last.
When we create memories, pathways are created within our brains. Like clearing a new trail through a dense forest, the first time we create these pathways takes a lot of work. Similarly, to keep the trail clear and prevent the forest from overgrowing it, we have to keep walking the trail over and over again until it becomes a lane, then a road, and eventually a permanent part of the forest. So with our memories, if we don’t repeat them, they will soon be forgotten and we will find ourselves reverting to the negativity bias formed over millions of years of evolution. Just as bodybuilders repeat the same motion over and over again to build a single muscle, so we must repeat the same practice until Gratitude holds an ever-stronger place in our lives.
In my personal experience, I have found that practicing Gratitude has changed my life in even the “small” things. Just recently in fact, when I was washing dishes, I found myself complaining about how I lacked the time and how someone else should have done them when I was suddenly interrupted by the voice of Truth. It reminded me that there was another way to look at this situation. It reminded me that I was so privileged to have dishes to wash in the first place! It reminded me I had amazing food to put on these dishes and that I am so fortunate to always have had food and most of the time, someone else cleaned the dishes. Like that, as suddenly as my complaints came, Gratitude took over, and I realized thankful was the only feeling we can feel when we are truly aware of all the good around us and in the Universe.
So I invite you now to join us! Join the Surrendered Healing movement: 30 Days of Gratitude. Post pictures on Instagram or Facebook and tag #SHgrateful30 and watch yourself feel a shift in your perception and increase happiness! And, as an extra bonus, every post with #SHgrateful30 for the rest of the month of October gets you another entry into the raffle for a free healing session with Surrendered Healing (valued at $250!).