The practice of Gratitude might seem a ju ju style, hookie, hippy soft and fluffy practice, but on a physiological level it rewards us with a little serotonin hit, which is the very chemical we need to support our immune system among a host of other things.
It is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function
We can increase our serotonin levels through gentle exercise such as walking, or through eating certain foods such as nuts and seeds, salmon, milk, cheese, and pineapple!
But if food and exercise are not readily available to us in the moment, or we want to find other ways to increase our levels of serotonin we can practice an attitude of gratitude.
We may notice if we have a dip in serotonin as it is linked to poor memory and low mood.
We may also crave certain food types, have struggles with sleep, feel low in self-esteem, or be struggling with anxiety.
These are tough times, there is every chance some of us are feeling some of these, but we don't have to turn to mind-bending drugs and an illicit rave to get a hit of the good stuff.
In a research study that looks at longevity of life they could see positive emotions were an important predictor on health, there is a solid link between feeling good and living longer.
So today I've an invitation for you to turn gratitude into a long-standing practice, something you do every day.
I've written about it before here https://www.mindfulimposter.com/post/mindfulness-and-the-coronavirus-1 and a way you can develop your practice.
Some other questions you may want to consider?
What aspect of my personality am I grateful for today?
What aspect of my life am I grateful for today?
What aspect of this moment am I grateful for today?
It is the small things that start to add up, look small, the sunshine, the rain watering the garden, the fan on my skin cooling me down, my favourite cup of tea at the start of the day. The things we are grateful for soon start to add up, you may be surprised. Take a few minutes at the end of your day to reflect on what you can be grateful for, encourage your children, loved ones, friends, family to do the same too, it's a practice that is available to us all and will support all of us. If you notice friends and loved ones having a tough time, invite them to see what they can be grateful for, or share with them what it is about them you really value and appreciate.
We are not individuals, we are a collection of people living in this shared universe, let us recognise, empower, and support each other.
Today as i'm writing this, I'm grateful for my little sis, who has been such a support to me over the years, she's spent HOURS crafting an amazing looking cake for her daughter, my sparkly joyous niece, she's three today, and we are going to enjoy this badboy!
Photo-credit Kate Way