Gratitude: What you focus on expands


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series
​This month our #indulgeU2016 focus is on ‪#‎gratitude…a shift towards acknowledging the many small blessings that already exist in our lives rather than focusing on what our lives lack. How is that indulgent? Research shows that our thoughts can actually trigger changes in our brain and in our body that can affect our mental and physical health. Studies also show that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, strengthens relationships, improves health, and reduces stress…I think we can all use some of those benefits in our lives!

It may be difficult to consciously make a transition into a more positive and appreciative mind-set. ​ ​The trouble with negative thinking is the beauty of positive thinking – both are habits formed over time until they become our default behaviour.  Being in a negative frame of mind, be it constantly finding fault, complaining or worrying, trains the brain to see more negativity while being in a positive frame of mind trains the brain to see the beauty in the current situation or opportunity and solutions when challenges arise.

Since positive thinking is a habit, how can we train ourselves to be more positive? At the beginning of this month I stuck a post it note on my bathroom mirror with just one word – Gratitude. It acts as a reminder when I’m getting ready to face the day to take some time to focus on a couple things that I’m really grateful for. When I’m getting ready for bed it acts as a reminder to focus on at least one thing that happened during the day that I can acknowledge with appreciation.  Sometimes its small things like light traffic when I left home later than planned and sometimes its bigger things such as opportunities to share Underpinnings’ message with a broader audience.  I have tried to implement gratitude practices before but I’ve had challenges with being consistent.  Doing it in this way that is structured, yet simple, allows it to fall in more easily with my daily routine has helped me be more consistent.

Do you have a gratitude practice? In the comments, tell us what you do to acknowledge the good things in your life or quiet the negative thoughts.  To be eligible to win a $100 Underpinnings gift certificate in April, head over to our Facebook page to share and comment on our #indulgeU2016 posts telling us what you do to focus on the positive, feel gratitude and perhaps most importantly, express gratitude.

Keep Indulging!