March 23, 2020
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since I’ve added to my blog. It’s past time!
I realized in the middle of last night when I could not sleep that I needed to start shining my Light a bit more brightly out into the world because we really need Light Workers to step up right now! There is so much fear and uncertainty because of all the changes that have been coming at us with such intensity that many of us are almost in panic mode. The self-isolation many of us are currently in and the 24/7 media focus on Covid19 have us glued to our tv’s, computers, phones, & radios for the latest news and directives, much of which is fear-based. When we are in a state of fear, our immune system is suppressed and we are easily controlled and manipulated.
A few days ago, a brave reporter asked our president what he would say to people who are scared right now. The fact that our Commander in Chief could not offer one piece of advice for Americans who are scared is abominable but got me thinking about the question of what I might offer to my friends who, like me, are freaking out at the seismic shifts in our reality and in our world which no longer seems safe and secure.
Around 2am this morning as I lay wide awake, a beautiful meditation came to me that I would like to share with you. I will call it the Gratitude Meditation. I began to ask myself: what am I grateful for? I found myself silently making a list: I am grateful for…….the ability to breathe, my health, my body, my husband, my dog, my children, my grandchildren, my siblings, my friends, my community, my home, this beautiful earth we all share, springtime, flowers, rain, sunshine, and on & on. Then I focused on my breathing. I began to consciously breathe in gratitude on each in-breath and breathe out love on the out-breath. This brought me completely into the here and now, focused on gratitude and love, two states of being that can help support our immune system and counteract the effects of fear on our lives.
This is backed up by clinical studies. From a paper by Heather Craig titled “The Research on Gratitude and Its Link with Love and Happiness”, there is the following:
McCullough, Emmons and Tsang (2002) conducted 4 studies looking at psychological domains and gratitude. The three particular psychological domains they studied were emotionality/wellbeing, pro-sociality, and spirituality/religiousness. They found that examination of these three aspects of psychology could differentiate between grateful individuals and those who are less grateful.
The study showed that grateful individuals experience more positive emotions, are more satisfied with life, and experience fewer negative emotions including depression, anxiety and envy. Perhaps not surprisingly, more grateful people also tend to be more pro-socially oriented. They are more likely to be empathic, forgiving, helpful and supportive than those who are less grateful. They are less focused on attaining materialistic goals.
An interesting finding from McCullough et al.’s (2002) study was that those who show more gratefulness also tend to be more spiritually and religiously minded.
Gratitude is consistently showed to be significantly associated with greater happiness (Simon, n.d.). Why? Well, for starters, gratitude increases experiences of positive emotions and it also helps people to take pleasure from positive experiences. Furthermore, gratitude is associated with better physical health which is a contributing factor to happiness (Simon, n.d.). Gratitude also helps people cope with adversity and to develop and maintain strong relationships.
Happiness is associated with being grateful (i.e. satisfied) with what one has, and focusing more on the positives in life. Furthermore, emotions are adaptable so sometimes we may become numb to what makes us happy… a dose of appreciation for our blessings can help us again feel happy.
5 Proven Health Benefits of Gratitude
- Gratitude improves sleep.
- Gratitude can strengthen your physiological well-being.
- Gratitude may lead to a longer life.
- Gratitude increases your energy levels.
- Gratitude increases the likelihood of physical activity ie exercise
So, have fun with this Gratitude Meditation exercise. During the day, keep adding to your list of “I am grateful for…..”. Then, before you fall asleep or in the middle of the night when you can’t get back to sleep, bring your focus to your breathing. Breathe in the feeling of being grateful on the in-breath and breathe out the feeling of love on the out-breath. If your mind wants to wander, bring your focus back to the breath and begin again. This will help you shift from being in a place of fear to being in a place of gratitude and love. The world need this from us, now!