This blog post has nothing to do with acupuncture...but it does cover something that I talk with my patients about and that I practice daily. Gratitude. It is part of a holistic approach to great well-being. Many of my patients come in because they are stressed out, anxious, depressed, irritable or have just lost their zest for life. Acupuncture gets them back on the road to more peace and joy. Practicing gratitude amplifies and sustains the effects of the acupuncture treatments.
Did you know there is a science behind gratitude as an essential part of happiness? Researchers have discovered that gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine…the same neurotransmitter that the antidepressant Wellbutrin increases. Prozac works on the neurotransmitter serotonin…so does gratitude! According to neuroscience researcher Alex Korb (author of The Upward Spiral) you don’t even have to find something to be grateful for, the process of searching for it is sufficient! Take in a daily dose of gratitude and watch the inner shift take place.
So, how can you cultivate gratitude on a daily basis? Here are a few ideas to try out. Add your own ideas in the comment section!
Some ways to practice gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily or weekly lists. Daily is better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
- Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
- Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
- Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
- When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
So don’t wait for Thanksgiving, start giving thanks today. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time. That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a gift.