If you are familiar with any kind of self-help or spiritual writing you may have already read about the many reasons that gratitude is good for you. It is considered essential to happiness and positive emotions. It can help make us resilient and keep things in perspective during difficult times. Gratitude is believed to reduce stress and insomnia, increase energy and enthusiasm and improve relationships and longevity. Its impact on us is so significant that it even rewires our brain!
“Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.”~ Dr. Alex Korb (Neuroscientist)
As a contrast to this, by focusing on things that we are unhappy or ungrateful about, we are setting our brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS) to filter out any evidence to the contrary. Simply put, once we start on the discontent route, it is reinforced by our selective attention to things that confirm our unhappy expectations. Which leaves us feeling unhappy, complaining and somewhat pessimistic.
So how do we rewire ourselves and develop an attitude of gratitude? Common recommendations include:
- Starting your day with 3 texts or messages of sincere appreciation or genuine compliments.
- Keeping a gratitude log – writing down at least 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day. Small and inconsequential items are also fine – as long as you begin to look to find things to appreciate.
- Writing thank you notes for not only gifts but thoughtful acts or behaviour.
- Joining a gratitude circle. There are many such groups on Facebook if you do not have an in-person opportunity. Attitudes can be contagious.
- Carrying around a gratitude rock – every time you touch this symbolic piece, make it a point to think of something you are thankful for.
- Similarly, keep a pile of gratitude pebbles in your living room or bedroom. Transfer one at a time to another dish ever so frequently, at each time thinking of something that made you happy.
While many of these work remarkably well for a lot of people, there are overwhelming times when it seems like there is absolutely no silver lining and only dark, ominous clouds hang over us. Or, we have hardwired our brains and habits so concretely and for such a long time, that changing our attitude seems impossibly difficult.
But the thing is – our ability to notice and receive wholeheartedly is inexorably linked with our capacity for appreciation. Without developing this ability we not only fail to acknowledge and value all that is already present for us, but we also tend to be blinkered and closed to all that disproves our stance of dissatisfaction.
If you would like to open your self up to receiving and celebrating more in your life, do give the clearings listed below a fair try. Feel free to use them with any clearing tool of your choice. I recommend EFT, but you could also use breath work, the Access Clearing Tool, Now Healing or any other tool you are familiar with. You could even make an audio of them in your own voice and loop it at low volume through the night for a week or so.
(You can download EFT in one page here if required. For a more detailed understanding of EFT, you can visit my site or read my book – Emotional Freedom Techniques. )
I would recommend making a habit of repeating the last clearing on this list several times a day. You may be surprised at how much it changes your perspective and experience!
- All the ways in which I am habituated, conditioned, programmed and hardwired to looking for what is missing instead of appreciating what is already there, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways and all the places I have set up unrealistic demands and expectations that only fuel my consistent disappointment, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways in which I am habituated, conditioned, programmed and hardwired to criticise instead of appreciating, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the shock, trauma, wounds, hurts, fixed points of views and conclusions from past experiences that convince me that I have more cause for complaint than for gratitude, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways my insistence on specifics is preventing me from receiving blessings in other forms, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- Everything that distracts me from being present and noticing all the goodness and abundance coming my way, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways I am extrapolating the past or projecting a future that prevents me from receiving and celebrating all that life is offering me right now, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the habit, conditioning, programming and wiring of competition, comparison, jealousy and envy that prevents me from noticing, receiving and appreciating all that I already have, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways that I consciously or unconsciously imagine, invite, expect, create, perpetuate or project stories of sustained victimhood, self-pity, unworthiness, lack, drama, or deprivation, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways I am afraid to invite, receive or acknowledge goodness out of the fear and resistance to losing it, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways I am afraid of experiencing or revisiting any form of loss, grief or disappointment, all the ways in which that unconsciously or consciously limits what I enjoy today, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- All the ways I am afraid of things turning out better than I ever imagined, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- Any conscious or unconscious ways in which I am trying to prove or disprove my ideas around worthiness, fairness, love, faith, abundance, materialism or spirituality, by limiting what I perceive, receive or am grateful for – I release, dissolve and let go of all of that now.
- Everything that contributes to limitations or fixed points of views around receiving, having and celebrating all that life has to offer, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- What if there was nothing that I was entitled to? What if I took nothing and no-one for granted? Who all and what all would I realise and acknowledge as a gift in my life? How much more gratitude would I feel? Anything that prevents any of that from happening, I release, dissolve and let go now.
- What would it take for me to be aware, present, open, receptive and grateful for all that is flowing to me and through me right now? Anything that prevents that from happening, I release, dissolve and let go now.
Do remember to have water and ground yourself after any energy work. Rest if so required. Run these clearings two/three times a day for a week and do let me know what changes you notice.
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