Monday, November 11, 2013

Rewire your brain with gratitude

Did you know that an intentional and regular practice of gratitude can change your brain activity? It can  change the way your brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. Practicing gratitude can open your heart to give and receive more love. If it doesn't actually bring you more blessings, gratitude at least makes you aware of those you already have.

Housecleaning isn't my favorite way to spend time. I've been known to grumble about it occasionally. Well, actually, that's an understatement. I remember one particular day when I was especially annoyed that I had to spend a few hours cleaning my house before having visitors to dinner. In the midst of my complaining, it suddenly struck me: I am really blessed that I even have a home to clean! I thought of people who sleep outside under bridges, in boxes or in doorways. Or those who sleep in their cars because they can afford either housing or transportation but not both.

That was a good wake-up call for me. Sonia, focus on what you do have and be grateful for it. And once I started listing the things for which I was grateful, I was in a totally different place mentally and emotionally. My heart felt so open and joyful. I try to remember that.

For years I've kept a gratitude journal. I don't write in it every day. I would like to do that. But I do the best I can and write as often as I can. It does make a difference in how my day goes. We know that whatever we focus on grows larger. So if we're focused on our problems or on what we don't have, that's what looms large. But if we focus on our gifts and blessings, we see even more of them all around. Over time, our brains will gravitate more to the positive patterns. Isn't that a rewiring job worth taking on?

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