Gratitude: A feeling of appreciation or thanks.
(Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary)
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, and kick-off the “holiday season”, I want to share one of the easiest ways to keep your peace through all the preparation, hustle and bustle, and time with friends and family: Practice gratitude.
Studies have proven the feeling of gratitude has the power to almost instantly shift an emotionally driven, erratic heart rhythm back to a smooth, coherent one. When you feel irritated or anxious (or any of the other “negative” emotions) your heart rate literally changes, and impacts all of your oscillating systems. That is why you physically feel differently when you are experiencing positive emotions versus negative.
Where do you feel negative emotions in your body? My chest begins to feel constricted. You know, it is common for a wave of negativity to bring on shortness of breath, flushing, and a host of other unpleasant sensations. This is because when you are experiencing the stress of negative emotions, your heart rate changes and your other systems react too. Just thinking about, talking about, or reading about stressful emotions can bring on “that” feeling, even though nothing has actually happened. (Feeling it? Me too…)
Now, let’s shift to gratitude. Ahhh. Just writing the word makes my heart rate begin to slow and move back to a smooth, calm, rhythm. Check out the illustration below. The bottom chart with smooth, rounded lines is where I like to stay.
As we step into the holiday season, spend a little time each day focusing on things – big and small – you are grateful for. If “an attitude of gratitude” is not part of your daily routine, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to begin.
When things feel a little chaotic, and negative emotions are triggered in you, right then, in that moment, think about something you are grateful for. Anything! Your good hair day, your sweet dog, the blue sky… Spend a few seconds “in gratitude”, and your heart rate will shift back to smooth just as quickly as it became erratic. I promise, you will be able to think more clearly, feel more calm, and enjoy each moment so much more.
From our families to yours, we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
May you live, laugh, and love, with gratitude!
Contact us today for more information on how to stay calm and keep your peace, even when emotions run high.