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Amplifying your gratitude
by Lauren Tober
While projecting into the future is a powerful way to consciously move our lives towards fulfillment, it’s important to notice the things in our lives that already bring us joy.
Mindfulness helps us pay deeper attention to the ordinary ‘miracles’ in our lives that we so often take for granted.
As we recognise the goodness and beauty that already fill our lives, through regularly acknowledging the good, we build new neural pathways that incline the mind towards the positive aspects of our existence.
A study by Dr Joshua Brown, professor of psychological brain sciences at Indiana University, looked at the benefits of gratitude for three hundred students who were receiving counselling for depression or anxiety. The students were divided into three groups, the first writing a weekly letter of gratitude to another person (most participants didn’t actually send it); the second writing about their negative feelings and experiences; and the third serving as a control group who did no writing activity. Both one month and three months after the writing exercise ended, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health than either of the other groups.
Gratitude isn’t about denying the challenges or suffering in life. It’s about amplifying the goodness that is already there by simply noticing it more consciously.
We can spend so much of our lives missing the many miracles that are present, even while we face challenges. We can so easily become imprisoned by unproductive thinking patterns and self limiting beliefs. As you’ve probably noticed in your meditation practice, it’s so easy to get absorbed and carried away by our own stories and inner narratives.
Although our thoughts can feel so compelling, meditation helps us recognise when we are lost in thinking, challenge the truth of our thoughts, and find more freedom from the inner chatter.
What thoughts, expectations, attitudes or beliefs could you let go of that would support your wellbeing and happiness?
Next time you’re feeling tension or stress ask yourself “what can I let go of in this moment to make things feel a little easier for myself”.
ABOUT LAUREN TOBER
Dr Lauren Tober is a Clinical Psychologist, Life Coach and Yoga Teacher based in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, Australia. With a passion for health, healing, and happiness Lauren integrates the best of western psychology with ancient yogic wisdom, both on and off the mat. She is the founder of Capturing Gratitude, a worldwide photographic happiness project, A Daily Dose of Bliss, a highly acclaimed online yoga course for finding your calm in the busy-ness of life and Living Your Heartfelt Desires a heartfelt online course to consciously create a life you love and Meditation, Pure + Simple a 6 week iRest Yoga Nidra course.