I wanted to share a video by Brené Brown that I had posted on my Facebook page much earlier in the year. Her work has been deeply inspiring to me both personally and professionally, and in the midst of big life events that include a graduation and my brother’s wedding, I find myself needing an anchor as to not get lost in the details, but instead be able to experience the tremendous joy (and sometimes sadness) that will punctuate the summer. Hence, why I’ve come around again to her research on joy and gratitude.
Time and time again, as I witness people on their healing journeys, I come to the same conclusion: health is, ultimately, about having the freedom to find purpose and joy in our lives, and the vehicle through which that is possible, is in large part through cultivating gratitude. It marks a shift from seeing the world as a place in which we only survive (a place, I’d add, that makes us very prone to illness), to being able to celebrate a life that is made up of ordinary moments that have the potential to make our hearts sing. It is this space that calms the nervous system (by encouraging rest and relaxation), feeds the soul, and creates the environment for deep healing and joy to take root.
And as Brené so emphatically points out, it is not about a general cerebral sense of gratitude, but actually carving out time during the day to pause and give thanks. It can be having a gratitude journal you write in daily, naming one thing for which you’re grateful before a meal, or emailing a close friend or family member every night with the 3 things for which you are grateful. Be creative and find a ritual that resonates with you. I think you’ll be inspired by the simple, yet powerful moments that will come into your awareness and how it positively affects your health--both physically and emotionally.