Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving is such an amazing time of year. It's the calm before the holiday storm. What a great time to reflect and pause so that we can take that peaceful energy into the Christmas and Holiday season. This is a really great time to start a gratitude practice. Consistently taking time to make note of positive things in your life will not only make you happier and improve your brain function, but allow you to become more resilient in tougher times as well as improve many other aspects of your life.

Our brains are programmed to really focus on the negative things that are happening in our lives. This was an evolutionary advantage. Back in the day, if you walked to your favorite watering hole and a saber tooth tiger popped out and chased you and you were lucky enough to survive it was really important to remember that that happened or you would not make it very far. Our brains have not changed since then and it is not very good at discerning a threat on your life from a work deadline. It can get really overwhelming to be focusing on all the negative reinforcement and that can lead to stress and lack of sleep. Gratitude it a way to process the stress and to put it in perspective of all the other wonderful things that are happening all day long that we are not fully present for.

Many successful people swear by a gratitude practice and credit it as a key to their success. Oprah, Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra,Tony Robbins all credit gratitude and mindfulness as an important tool for their health and success.

Mindfulness doesn't have to take a large chunk of your day. View it like going to the gym and schedule a few minutes in the morning and then a few minutes of reflection in the evening and you will notice huge shifts in your hormones, your happiness and mental toughness as well as your relationships. The really great thing about this practice is that it sets off reward centers in your brain so the more you do it the easier it is! It can be something as simple as someone held a door open for you or smiled at you or a grand as a friend sent you flowers. Here is a really great resource for a gratitude journal that is short and sweet and really effective. They have an iphone app if you are more techie as well!