Gratitude is one of the strategies or tools that I write about in my book Shining The Light on PND and it is because of the simplicity of the practice AS WELL as the impact that it does have within our body by doing it.
I remember whilst being in the THICK of my turmoil…I still did have so many things that I could be thankful for…had I allowed my mind to focus on them.
Now, I do remember how hard it was at the time of being able to consciously yank myself away from my intrusive and dark thoughts…so I can empathise if you too are in a severe state, that it may not be the easiest of things to do.
However, I do often wonder, in retrospect, what altering my inner conversation from one of being dark, stuck and unable to think properly, to one of gratitude.
What might that have done to my inner well-being?
I remember family members and my GP telling me that I had so much to be grateful for, and at the time I wanted to scream when they said that! I felt like they didn’t understand what I was feeling, that my head was in a vacant fog and that it seemed like a very easy thing to do…and not actually possible to execute with how I was feeling.
Yet, the truth was, I did have so much I could still focus on being grateful for…
+ Grateful, for having a roof over our heads and that my husband and family could help me with everything involved with having a newborn and running the entire household.
+ Grateful, for having healthy children and my own physically healthy body.
+ Grateful, that I found the right access to health care that I needed and for having so many beautiful Earth angels to carry me through my journey. Grateful that my husband kept our businesses afloat, whilst looking after the boys day and night and carried that burden of all of life on his shoulders…
If we can focus our attention on what greatness we do have, instead of focussing on all the things that may not be ideal, then we become more aware of things to be grateful for, and it is very addictive. Infusing our bodies with endorphins will have a profound impact on the way we feel, which can in turn make us more grateful!
It may be a matter of ‘faking it until you make it’ and whilst ordinarily I dislike that statement a lot, in this instance it may be enough to shift your mindset into one of optimism and hope…provided you FEEL its truth rather than being a scripted narrative that you do not mean.
I personally describe it as a practice…that enables you to FEEL and CONNECT with ALL the ‘feel-good’ aspects that you are taking the time to notice…and not ignoring…by being ever connected to the NOW and not wishing away ones life by projecting INTO the future…
A lot of gratitude comes from this polarity…and I love that song ‘’Let her Go’’ by Passenger…where he sings about “you only miss the light when it’s burning low…only miss the sun when it starts to snow…Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low…only miss home when you’re on the road…”
And this polarity or duality of life…is what gives us context and space for gratitude.
For me now, I can only savour my health and mental health…because I know what it disappearing overnight can feel like…
I can only savour the love and connection with my boys…when it was so disturbingly cruelly taken away from me overnight and returned back to me almost as if I had served my time…
However, my genuine hope is that we don’t need to only appreciate and have gratitude for all the greatness that we do have in our life when they’re taken away; because that would mean that a lot of suffering would need to take place if we only lived that way.
Imagine only being grateful for our legs…if they were taken away from us?
It is for this reason that I feel like every opportunity can be fresh to help re-wire our brain into this ‘feel-good’ space…filled with OXYTOCIN…and the impact that this has on our physical body as a result.
The Greater Good Science Centre offers a plethora of information on this subject. In a white paper titled, “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), they outline several benefits to gratitude practice.
For the individual:
- increased happiness and positive mood
- more satisfaction with life
- less materialistic
- less likely to experience burnout
- better physical health
- better sleep
- less fatigue
- lower levels of cellular inflammation
- greater resiliency
- encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
This alone is enough to convert even the sceptic!!
To live with the attitude of gratitude, sure sounds like a wonderful way to live…the benefits are undeniable.