Updated: Nov 21
Recently I found myself in a pretty dark place. It’s so interesting to me to hear people’s reactions when I share that with them because on paper, things look pretty darn good over here. And honestly, they are. I know that.
But there’s something about the way life’s routines and unavoidable logistics can drop my head and lower my gaze so I just keep plugging through life (enter in mortgages and bills, endless household chores, loneliness, this puppy who won’t stop pooping in the house, etc… aka “nice problems to have”). I’m the first to admit that I have to “dumb down” a little to make it all happen. As much as my faith guides me through life, I still have to “tie up my horse”.. And so much more.
So when the light in me starts to dim a little again, I have a few practices I lean on to pick my head back up and do the work but with a little more pep in my step and sunshine in my day.
I’ll tell you right now that the first step is always always admitting I’m in a funk and that it’s time to just shut up and start doing the things. That dark head space of mine just loves to throw in the towel with a healthy amount of “well f%$k it, things just suck.” Don’t get me wrong, I think its important to sit with those feelings but at some point, I put the goth clothes back in the closet and get to work.
And you know what, it’s easier than I want to believe every time. I just have to start with gratitude affirmations. But it might look a little different than you’re thinking.
If my funk is deep, I’ll pull out a pen and paper and fill the page with what I am grateful for (reluctantly, remember, I’ve gone goth again). I may not have that feeling of joy when I write it all down, but I still know it's there. So I do it.
This pen and paper
My ability to even write a list
My “nice problems to have”
My move to the country
… and the list eventually goes on and on and eventually, I feel lighter.
If I struggle with the list because maybe I’m actually struggling with anxiety, I open my phone and start scrolling through pictures. And there it all is…
The pink sunset
That beautiful dinner
The list goes on and on…
And if I even have it in me to write off my pics, I use the Gratitude Blooming (LINK TO RETAIL PAGE) cards that ask me the exact question I need that day.
So what’s happening here? Well, the neuroscience is there for us to enjoy. Check it out:
According to MayoClinic
“Expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.”
According to Harvard Medical School,
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. “
And even more interestingly, an article written for Deepak Chopra, it explains the neurology of it all. And it's worth the read.
“An active practice of gratitude can increase neuron density and lead to greater emotional intelligence, as an article in Wharton’s Healthcare Monthly describes. In neuroscience research, Hebb’s Law says that “neurons that fire together wire together.” The more you practice gratitude, the more you strengthen the brain’s neural circuits for gratitude, making it easier to focus on feelings of gratitude.”
This list could go on and on as well. The research is there and in some ways, we all already know this.
So.. if you’ve made it this far, I'm not just grateful, I have a challenge for you. Write down 3 things you are grateful for right now. Send it to me if you want. And then do it again tomorrow, the next day, the next, and so on….
Let’s just see those neuro shifts as we cozy into this season of thankfulness….