Have you ever noticed the subtle shift that occurs when you are focusing on the positive?
Practicing gratitude and simply being grateful positively affects the brain.
When you wallow in something negative, no matter how small, you allow it to define your outlook on life.
This isn’t meant to dismiss all that is going on in the world or the depth of grief many people are experiencing, including myself.
Gratitude practices have been proven to have a significant impact on the levels of oxytocin in the body – the hormone responsible for inducing relaxation and a sense of happiness.
This hormone is mainly produced by the hypothalamus and secreted in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
When it gets released in positive situations, you experience “warm fuzzies” promoting feelings of intimacy, love and tenderness.
When I was doing research for a training program at the Leadership Development Center for the Department of Homeland Security, I read research about how 9 out of 10 people wanted to be around people who were happy.
I always wondered who the 10th person was – and why happiness wasn’t important to them. (Things that make you go hmmm….)
As for the 9 in the study, how do you get more happy or become “happiness attractive”?
The simple answer is by practicing more gratitude, you can increase your happiness.
Years ago, I upped my own gratitude practices.
I tried writing down what I was grateful for every day and found I wasn’t inspired to do it for very long.
Yet, when I made it an even more frequent part of my daily life – something I say aloud in the morning, before meals, in the middle of the afternoon, and at the end of the night, my life became one giant gratitude practice.
The more I articulated what I was most thankful for, it seemed the more I began to notice the positive in my life. It almost seemed as if more positive things were actually coming into my life. They just started showing up more often!
This noticing what I was thankful for was sustainable, because the more I did it, the more I felt gratitude and all the attending emotions, and I relaxed into a new normal. I actually shifted my own experience of myself as a person of greater peace, joy, and happiness.
Can you guess how productivity and energy levels are affected by a sense of happiness?!?
The single practice of gratitude has been what Charles Duhig in his book The Power of Habit identified as a keystone habit – a habit that has a cascade effect of other positive actions.
ACTION: The Upside Challenge of the week is to implement a gratitude habit or identify another keystone habit that would have a geometric impact in the quality of your daily life.
The world needs you and your brilliance.