Cultivating a Space of Gratitude
Mar 30, 2021
Barely a day goes by without us having a conversation about the many challenges we have faced since the pandemic started. Keeping the focus on your studies is not an easy feat as we are uncertain about what the future holds—or how we will even get there. With all of this at play, it has become crucial to find ways to support ourselves and each other and do what we can to make it through. Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful tools we can use to help against anxiety and depression.
Author Alex Kord highlights in his book ‘Upward Spiral’, that our brain is conditioned to function in a repeated way. For example, a person who worries too much about negative outcomes will subconsciously re-wire their brain to process negative information. By consciously practicing gratitude, we can train the brain to attend selectively to positive emotions and thoughts, reducing anxiety and feelings of apprehension.
Here are some ways we can cultivate gratitude.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Recording once a week all things you have to be grateful for according to psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky can increase your energy, and relieve pain and fatigue. I make a list each day of my “little joys” moments that I may fail to appreciate if I did not keep a record of them. Nothing-grand most of my moments would fall in the mundane category such as “helping my son with his homework”, “first coffee of the day”, “message from a friend.” This exercise reminds me of all the things I take for granted and encourages me to appreciate all the little moments.
Use the right words.
According to authors Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words literally can change your brain. In their book ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’ positive words can alter the expression of genes, propels the motivational centers of the brain into action, and build resiliency.
The first step to thankfulness is to remember individuals in our lives who have walked with us and showed compassion. The exercise of remembering those who supported you through scary times and helped you find your way can cultivate gratitude in your life.
Practicing gratitude is a great way to express our feelings to others and ourselves. Gratitude my not give us instant relief from pain and stress but self-discipline and motivation bring the feeling of control to our lives.
“Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world”
Try it!!! Check out daily post to inspire new practice of Gr-Attitude
- Student Success Services