Girl blowing flower petals

Gratitude. Being grateful for the little things in life. Almost every day for the past 10 years (since I emigrated to Australia from London), I have kept a journal by my bed. Each night – it is now a ritual that I look forward to – I write down 3 things about my businesses that have gone well, made me happy or been a success.

“There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein

However small or seemingly insignificant, just to acknowledge these moments on a regular basis, appears to cause profound changes in your body – both physical and mental. I also have a permanent record in writing that I refer back to from time to time. This is such a useful tool to help me when I am having ‘one of those days’ and need a boost of ideas, confidence and positive energy. 

“Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life.

Be grateful for what you already have and you will be grateful for more things” 

The Secret

A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined blood flow in various brain regions while subjects summoned up feelings of gratitude (Zahn et al, 2009). They found that “subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus (small area in the centre of the brain). This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge array of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and stress levels”

Another 2012 study found inPsychology Today, reported that keeping a daily gratitude journal had some interesting effects on people suffering from anxiety and depression. “The anxious slept better, which helped lessen some of their symptoms. But the depressives experienced even more positive changes: overall, they slept better too, but even if they didn’t, their depressive symptoms were still rated as better on regular mood tests”.

Here are 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:  *

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships
  2. Gratitude improves physical health
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  5. Grateful people sleep better
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength

I know that I sleep better, having focused on the positives from the day. I also do a ‘brain dump’ in a separate notepad of things to do for the next day, to empty my head and help me rest. I feel calmer and more satisfied from my day’s efforts, can now draw a line on the day that is now over, and fully recharge ready to give the next day my all.

As part of the Team NF ‘challenge’ this month (the other part is ‘chasing’ NF Trainer Martina up and down some local park stairs as many times as possible!) is an Attitude of Gratitude: Keep a daily gratitude diary 😊 write down 3 things each day that have made you happy/ smile/ laugh/ feel positive.

Why not give this a try??

Challenge yourself to commit to this practice every day for the next 10 days.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a great deal of time – keep a journal by your bed and each night take a minute to scan your day for everything that brought a smile to your face. Or, you can keep a list on your phone to write the things down as they happen.

Happy journalling!

Nick 

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