Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude can help reduce stress

A meme on a certain social networking site is to list out all the things my friends are grateful for.

I think this is great.  I have some friends who are put off by the gratitude thing - perhaps seeing it as self-righteous or holier-than-thou.  Or perhaps that gratitude requires us to do something - compels us to some action.  I'm not sure I agree with that. 

Yet it appears that practicing gratitude can reduce stress and  help us focus on the positive rather than the negative.  It doesn't surprise me that our brains focus on the negative and threats. 

There is a crack in everything - that's where the light comes in
Our internal wiring is still that of 30,000 years ago - when paying attention to threats like bear attacks and weather related phenomenon helped keep our species alive.  Our brains still have that wiring, despite the fact that most of us will probably not have to face bear attacks in our lifetimes.  A podcast I listened to likened it to running modern software on the first computers - the kind that required punch cards to program.  Our brains haven't been upgraded.

So I do think about the things I'm grateful for - a lot.  I have a great deal to appreciate in my life. 

Maybe it's the Ukrainian/Eastern European in me - whatever may be going on, I know it could be so much worse! 

So I like reading about the people and things people are grateful for.  Everything from shoes to schools to children and health.  I'm grateful for science - that we can study this world and try to make sense of what's going on.  I'm grateful for good books.  I'm grateful that when our p.c. has been breaking recently - I know enough that I can open it up and install a new fan. 

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

Great post. I think the wonderful thing about gratitude is that when it fills your heart, you have no room left for being selfish. It is the realization that the world doesn't revolve around you and that there is a lot of wonderful things/acts/people despite whatever issues you're dealing with.