What’s this gratitude thing all about?

I walk in gratitude every day for my creative spirt, for the ability to continue on my creative journey of writing, painting, learning and loving. By that I mean I am thankful for everything I create and experience. I don’t wait for greatness to happen to be grateful, I’m happy for the smallest things; sunshine, my morning chai, a paragraph written with ease or bother, this blog, the way my legs move when I get out of bed, my family, hot water; you can see where I’m going with this.

When we make the effort to increase how often we experience gratitude, it balances out the negativity and cultivates awareness of what we want in our life; not what we don’t want. I’m not saying that we should ignore problems, or to be superficial about the challenges of life. But good memories are formed by focusing on what’s working and what we are grateful for.

Gratitude is an instant mood booster. When we consciously shift our attention to what’s working in our lives the need for safety, satisfaction and connection is meet. Activating gratitude tones down the alarm system of the brain (the amygdala) and reduces the stress response. Gratitude meditation reduces levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body and releases dopamine, the natural feel good chemical in the brain which supports more focused attention.

Calmly focusing on gratitude in my weekly group meditate, I noticed a deep feeling of grief in my stomach. As I sat in deep respect with this grief and resisted attaching a story in my mind about it, I was careful to stay peaceful and centered. It wasn’t until I breathed in gratitude about this grief that it let go of me. I realised that gratitude applies to all of my life experiences, not just the ones I like.