Step 3 Gratitude
In this step we are looking at Gratitude which is “The Secret”. When we live with gratitude we create a happy way of looking at the world and therefore a happy and fulfilling life. This is not some kind of naive hippy philosophy it is embedded in science and psychology. Happiness is where psychology and science meet.
You have a mind and you have a brain but are they the same thing? Your brain is a piece of meat. It may be a clever piece of meat full of electrical connections and powerful endorphins but without your mind, it is simply meat. The question is does your brain create and generate this experience of who you are, so that at the point of your death your mind ceases to be? Or, is the brain a clever switching station through which your mind expresses itself? This would mean that your mind would carryon after the meat of your brain has ceased to function.
For some this thing called mind may also be termed ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ for others it is ‘personality’ or ‘psychology’ or the psyche. Whatever you call it your mind is the essence of who you are, of what you think and all that you feel. Perhaps most importantly it is the driver of all that you do. What interests me is this relationship between mind and brain and how we can influence it to achieve the experiences that we really want. This, in my terms as a psychotherapist, is the fulfilment that we all deserve and can achieve.
So how does it work?
We know that if we change our brain chemistry, with alcohol, legal or recreational drugs, we change the way our mind feels, thinks and responds. We also know that if we change the way that we think, feel and respond, by positive mindful interventions, or repetitious negative thought processes and rumination, we then change the chemistry that is in our brain.
It as though there is a tube that has the brain at one end and the mind at the other. Which ever end we move, effect or change, the other must follow with an equal response. Now, it would seem to me that using positivity, mindfulness and positive rumination to change the way that our mind works is a far better way of effecting the brain than taking drugs prescribed or otherwise.
Learning to be emotionally articulate
If you want your brain to produce the chemistry that will make your mind feel happy and fulfilled then, you need to change the way that you feel. This requires that you become emotionally articulate. This involves developing Mindful skills learning to listen and respond to what we are feeling. Then deciding which new feelings might serve us better.
Most of us can accept that we can control what we do with our body and our actions. Many would accept that we can also change the way that we think. However, fewer people realise that we can also change the way that we feel…
…a happy mind equals a happy brain…
…this also flows back the other way…
…a happy brain equals a happy mind…
The quickest and most powerful way the develop a happy brain is to fill your mind full of gratitude. The key to happiness is gratitude.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are doing it, look around you. You may be in the Paris Hilton or a down town gutter. If you see the things around you with gratitude you will begin to effect your brain chemistry and create a happy brain. When you have a happy brain and mindset you can begin to see the potentials that lead to positive change. You see opportunities previously hidden or ignored.
What can you be grateful for right now this minute?
It may simply be that you are alive.
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die;
let us all be thankful.
When you learn to be grateful for what you have, even when it is a little, you create the positive brain chemistry that allows you to move forward with hope and expectation. It is then that you will develop the ability to create a world of experience that you really, really, really want.
Be happy, be grateful and, live in the present