Aaahh..and so it is. I only wish I didn’t forget this so quickly and easily! . I have talked before about how excited I was when I first learnt that our brains actually have a negativity bias. We are literally wired to look for the negative in an attempt to keep ourselves safe, in an attempt to survive. Which made a lot of sense when we lived on the Savannas a hundred thousand years ago and had to keep a watchful eye out for lions and tigers. But these days it just doesn’t add a lot of value to my life to be focusing on the negative.
Sure, I want to be discerning. Sure I want to be aware of and consider real potential risks when I make decisions or do things. And for sure, I don’t want to paint a rosy picture and ignore my pain or difficulties or things that feel hard in my life (I did that for years and all that had me do was try to stay out of reality and not deal with things that needed to be dealt with and healed within myself). This is not about putting a positive spin on everything and ignoring the truth.
But neuroscience tells us that our brains are malleable and what we think and pay attention to changes the structure and function of our brain. And as we start practicing gratitude and ‘taking in the good’ we can re-wire our brain to do so more naturally. Creating more natural peace within us. Allowing more joy and contentment to arise within us. Which gives us more strength and courage to deal with the challenges that life naturally brings. I know this quote to be true for me.
Each morning, before I get out of bed I quietly reflect on all I have to be grateful for – big and small. I used to write this down before I went to bed each night and I found that my gratitude practice changed my life so dramatically that it has been something that has now become a natural part of the way I start my day, a natural part of my morning ritual. And even on those days when life feels tough. When life frankly is tough. I still take time to look for those things in my life that I feel grateful for, even if it is as simple as the sunshine, my son, my partner, or the rain on the garden, my bed, or a cuddle from my dog. And I continue to practice this throughout the day (whenever I remember!). When something lovely happens, really taking time to feel it, to let it in. And the more I practice this the more I experience the peace and contentment that naturally arises.
May we all remember to practice more gratitude for the simple things in our lives this week.
With great warmth