As I mentioned yesterday, stress is running rampant in our society and is responsible for a variety of physical problems like headaches, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, stomach problems, muscle and body aches. It can also be seen in our faces, in the form of acne and premature aging. How do we deal with stress and eliminate its damaging effects? In this series I am sharing techniques that have truly worked for me through the most traumatic and stressful of times. Let’s talk about gratitude.
Technique Two: Practice Gratitude
At a very difficult time in my life, I started taking gratitude walks. This is something practiced by a lot of respected motivational leaders from Tony Robbins to Deepak Choprah, because it works! How does it work? Take a walk and recite out loud all of the things you are grateful for in your life. Be aware of the sights, smells and sounds around you – the falling leaves, the cool breeze, the dog barking. Try your best to block out all of the negative worries floating around in your head and stay in the moment! (as we discussed yesterday)
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for my environment, the wonderful places I am allowed to visit and my home. I am grateful that I have good health and so many physical comforts; and I am grateful for the smiles of children, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking, and things that make me laugh :). And above all, I am grateful for my family, friends, and the loving, supportive people in my life. Even when your life looks a bit gloomy, you might be surprised about all the things you have to be grateful for. You might feel stupid at first but keep going! Say it out loud!
Why does this work to relieve stress?
When we are feeling stressed, it is usually because we are allowing fear or anger to dominate our thoughts. We fear that we aren’t good enough, that we won’t accomplish something. We might be angry about something done, or not done, in the past. But it is almost impossible to be fearful or angry when you are feeling genuine gratitude.
And it’s scientifically proven! Robert Emmons, a professor at UC Davis, is one of the world’s leading researchers of gratitude. A study he did proved that practicing gratitude on a daily basis leads to a 25% increase in happiness and a significant boost in energy levels. It also leads to better health, reduced blood pressure and stress-hormone levels. People who practiced gratitude in the study also tended to take better care of themselves, smoking less, exercising more, and getting an extra half hour of sleep on average.
Those are good habits that are sure to result in better health, vitality, and glowing skin!