Thursday, June 3

Be Thankful...It Increases Your Brain Power!

G. K. Chesterton wrote: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."

Way back when Oprah was promoting keeping a "gratitude journal" I jumped on board. If you're a friend of mine, then you know that I make lists constantly, and have stacks of filled up notebooks and journals to prove it. This was another excuse to have a nice, fresh, clean journal- its blank pages inviting a pen to show it some love.
Seriously, is it just me, or is there something exciting and hopeful about blank paper in front of you? It's probably just me. I'm kind of a nerdy dork that way, but I can honestly say that listing the things I'm thankful for on a daily basis has not only increased my awareness but my happiness. How can you be anything but happy when you're focusing on all the many things in your life that you appreciate? Thanks brings well-being to your day... and it helps release the "feel good" hormone, serotonin. By being grateful, you can not only have a better outlook each day, but boost your brainpower, too.

Over the years I've encouraged friends and family members, even my son, to keep a gratitude journal. I strongly believe in the power of being appreciative for the little (and big) things in life. If you're reading this while living in the United States, then even those in the worst of financial circumstances are better off than so many around the world. So there already is something to be thankful for.

I challenge you to begin a gratitude journal and can guarantee that if you approach it sincerely, and with an open heart, you'll be surprised at how much you have to be thankful for that would typically have been overlooked. A good start is to list 5 things you're thankful for today. Even things as tiny as a smile from someone in line at the grocery store, since there's nothing too great or too small to appreciate.

Before long, you'll begin to see things in a new slant. Instead of grumbling that roses have thorns, you'll be thankful that thorns have roses. You'll start seeing where obstacles offer opportunities, and that positive energy attracts more positive energy.
For those who are really motivated, try a 5/5 formula for your journal. Five things you're grateful for, and five things you'd like to invite into your life.

I'll close with words from Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C. : "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, so let us all be thankful."


Kimberly said...

I like this idea, Michele! I'm gonna do it, I try to live in gratitude and this sounds like a great plan! Thank you! (Just another excuse for me to fill up a new journal, as well!)

Michele Chastain said...

I'm so glad you're giving this a won't be sorry. :)

Kimberly said...

Steve and I started a book together!

Kimberly said...

So more on your great ideas -- I am at Grandma's house a lot so I needed a small notebook to carry with me. I found an older, little composition book that the first 20 pages or so were drawn in by Cathleen when she was about 7 years old -- what a perfect "little" Gratitude Book to carry around, because I am definitely grateful that I still have those pictures!

Michele Chastain said...

That's awesome, Kimberly. :) I love looking back at artwork Nathan did when he was little. They grow up so fast...seems like not too long ago, we were little kids splashing around in your Grandma's back yard. :)