If you’ve been in a funk or felt like life just keeps throwing you curve balls (the kind that hit you), there’s a good chance that has taken up a lot of your focus, and for good reason.
Maybe it feels like you can never catch a break, like you can’t find any people that you connect with or maybe you just feel uninspired.
Our brains and emotions tend to get wired into patterns of feeling or focus.
We literally think a slew of mostly the same thoughts day in and day out – from the way we speak to ourselves to the way we view the world – unless we do something consciously to change or an outside force is powerful enough to create a shift within us.
So how do we get out of this Funk Canyon we’ve gotten into? Well I’ve got something simple to do and it’s backed by science from studies at UC Davis and Indiana University.
Practicing Gratitude – can actually physically change our brains and create lasting happiness even after the practice has stopped.
But once you get started with this, you’re not going to want to stop. Stop appreciating the things and people in your life, past, present and future? No way, Jose!
Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude have better relationships as well as better emotional, mental and physical health! They’re more likely to exercise, they have a stronger immune system, less inflammation and lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone that creates midsection fat).
And guess what?
When you start training your brain to look for things you like and appreciate, you will start to find more of those things or people in your life.
Just like when you notice a type of car you like, and didn’t notice them before, then all of a sudden you start seeing them everywhere.
That’s how our brain works. What we become aware of, expands. Take control of what you focus on, so you start noticing things that will enrich your life.
What are some ways to get started?
Keep a journal and write 10 things you’re grateful for, in the morning. Can’t think of 10 things? Start with 5. You can do the same ones over and over and add on more things as you get more notice-y about them.
Write a letter to someone that you’re grateful for. It can be someone in the present or someone from the past. Tell them why and what they mean to you. Give it to them if you want or you don’t have to. But I bet that would make their week!
Start looking for things you like and take notice of them. Ask empowering questions, such as:
What do I like about this (my home, my relationships, my town/state, my body, etc…)?
What’s good about this ….?
What can I learn from this situation or person?
How can I turn this around and benefit from what this has brought me and be grateful for it?
What can this teach me that I can share with others in a positive way?”
Tell your friends and family how you appreciate them. What do you like about them? Focus on that. This will strengthen your relationship and make it easier to talk about things when issues come up that you need to discuss.
Knowing that you appreciate them will make them less likely to get defensive or turn things into an argument. It might inspire them to give you words and signs of appreciation, as well.
Gratitude practice has a cumulative effect, so to get the benefits it’s best to try it for at least a month to 6 weeks. Daily practice is best, but you can also do a weekly gratitude letter to someone and feel a shift.
Honestly, being grateful is how I stay in a positive and happy mood most of the time. Living in gratitude totally changed my life and got me more in the flow with good things. When your grateful and joyful, positive people and events are attracted into your life that match that vibration.
Are things always going to go your way? No. But you will be able to pull yourself out of a funk if you have this practice down. It’s like a muscle.
Hey, why not start your practice today? The 10 things should only take about 5 minutes. 5 minutes to improve your immune and cardiovascular system, stress levels, emotional and mental wellbeing, plus the added benefit of bringing more good things to be grateful for into your life.
Give it a try for a month and leave a comment below to let me know how it goes!