Gratitude Shifts Your Mindset

Using gratitude to help manage your mindset can really have a huge impact on how much narcolepsy affects your life.

What you focus on you feel

If you don’t believe me, try this exercise.

person practicing gratitude, hands folded
Image by 1388843 from Pixabay

Take a moment to think of the worst day in your life, close your eyes and really visualize that day and feel the emotions you were feeling.  Stay there for a minute or two.  Open your eyes and notice the physical sensations in your body.  You may have clenched your fists, hunched your shoulders, or tightened your neck.

Now think of one of the best moments in your life, where you felt a sense of accomplishment or pride for example.  Let yourself stay in that emotion for a few minutes.  When you open your eyes, notice how your body has reacted. Hopefully, it feels more relaxed.  Gratitude can do the same thing.

Why does it matter?

This happens to us unconsciously all day every day. Our emotions have an impact on our physical bodies without us realizing it.  When we don’t feel as if our emotions are under our own control, we go on a roller coaster up and down all day, and that takes energy.

We want to conserve our energy, so it makes sense that we want to understand how we can take the reins and have some control over our own emotional state.

What can we do?

One simple task is to be grateful.  Just take a moment, a least once a day or as many times as you like towoman looking at computer biting a pencil match some words with what you are grateful for.

It helps to be specific, instead of just thinking, “Wow, this is great I am glad I’m here.” Try to create a statement like, “I am so grateful the sun is shining right now.  I am thankful for the cool breeze.  I appreciate the person who invited me here today.”

As we get specific with the things we are grateful for, we realize the list can get quite long.  The first few times you try this exercise you may only think of 3 or 4 things that you truly feel appreciative of. But in a matter of weeks or months, you will find yourself unable to stop adding to your list!

What does gratitude have to do with it?

In the simplest terms, shifting our focus to something positive releases us from the grip of negative emotions.  It is not to say your negative emotions are not valid, but it takes the power away from them and hands it back to you.  I won’t pretend to be an expert, so here is where the exercise originates: The Greater Good Science Center

You may also want to try practicing mindfulness.  Read about my experience with mindful photography here.

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