Hello my Thankful Thursday dreamers!
Gratitude is everywhere — have you noticed? Even Oprah is talking about it!
In the November issue of Oprah Magazine, Oprah is exploring The Power of Gratitude. It seems like this little dream of mine to share how being grateful for the little things can empower you to change your life is popping up wherever I turn.
E-Online shares that Oprah writes in the November issue that she wakes up every morning and the first sentence that comes through her brain is, “thank you.’”
Oprah goes on to say about being grateful:
“If you focus on what you have, you will begin to see that you have more. And if you focus on what you don’t have, you will always live in a space of lack.”
I know that it can be difficult to be grateful when life is getting you down. This is when I think it’s important to keep a gratitude log (or journal) so you make being grateful a conscious daily habit. Writing down what you are grateful for stimulates a collection of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS), or extrathalamic control modulatory system.
When you write down what you are grateful for you are activating the RAS part of your brain and telling yourself to pay close attention.
Your RAS is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. (Source: nwp.org)
Best-selling author, Napoleon Hill once wrote that your dream can be achieved with repetitive positive thoughts about succeeding at your dream because the RAS part of your brain cannot distinguish between ‘real events’ and ‘synthetic’ reality. (Source: drwillhorton.com).
What you tell your brain when you are writing it down is what your brain believes to be true.
The habit of writing in a gratitude journal brings more good things into your life for you to be grateful for. It calms your nerves and reminds you to focus on what is important and worthwhile in your life.
Just how important being grateful for the little things is never better illustrated than in the book by Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World:
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines.
Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass.
She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.
Tigers above, tigers below.
This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat.
We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
Work on starting a gratitude journal this week–being grateful for the little things.
And watch how your dreams start to come true and your life starts to change for the better.
Just pursue it.
Sue Levy is the founder of the South African Just Pursue It Blog and Inspirational Women Initiative. She’s a motivational writer and media designer, who is obsessed with everything inspirational with a hint of geek. She thrives on teaching women how to be brave and take big chances on themselves. You can find Sue on her Twitter page @Sue_Levy.
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