Once again, a weekend has passed and I am preparing for a busy week ahead. At the end of the week, I am attending a conference in Daytona Beach with the International Association of Therapists and Counselors. I will be giving presentations, so I am working out the last minute details of these seminars. There are appointments to keep during the week. Wednesday is my wonderful husband's birthday, so we will be celebrating that! All in all, a busy, productive week. I love those.
I will take a few moments to reflect on my gratitude, as this morning I have so much to be grateful for. Two of my brothers live just outside of Macon, Georgia. This weekend tornadoes swept through that area. Both of my brothers were untouched, their families are safe. Both brothers are involved in the clean up. That truly is a reason for gratitude. My sister in law is in a suburb of Khartoum right now. Over the weekend rebels from Darfur attacked a nearby village. Her friend Tito lives in that village, he was away from home and stayed at a nearby church for safety. Both are safe right now. More gratitude.
Research shows the effects on the brain and immune system from emotional displays like gratitude; kind, affirming words cause chemical changes in the brain that work much like antidepressants (creating a sense of peace and calm). As a positive message travels along a nerve in the brain and reaches the end of the nerve, chemicals are released then picked up by the next nerve allowing the message to continue through out. These chemicals, known as neurotransmitters release the feel good chemicals such as serotonin.
However, the gratitude must be genuine. So, perhaps in a given moment you don't feel gratitude for what is occurring in your life. What then? Perhaps that is a time to take stock of what is good and right in your life. Are you safe in this moment? Do you have your health? Think of one small thing that is right, in this moment and focus on that.
Gratitude is a choice. So is bitterness. Your health and well being depend upon your attitude, your choices. You can remain bitter and allow yourself to become numb, ill or even worse or you can choose in this moment to focus on something, anything to feel gratitude for. Imagine moving through an event and until you reach a place where you say, “ I learned something.” Then imagine as a result the next time adversity hits, you are prepared with knowledge as well as a neurological and physical resilience. Knowing that you will be OK. Then you truly are able to give thanks and be grateful.