How often do you stop to appreciate the abundance in your life?
That’s right, the abundance.
It almost seems counter-intuitive, why waste time rejoicing in what I have, when I have so much to worry about. What good could it possible do? How will all my problems resolve if I waste my time on wishful thinking and self-congratulation? What will everyone think of me if I spend my time navel gazing. How will I advance if I’m satisfied with what I already have?
Well here is my response to this avalanche of disbelief.
It is supported by functional MRI scans and multiple research trials. (1)
It has been boiled down to this neat little epithet.
“Neurones that fire together wire together.”
You know, for most of us our inner voice is one of shame and blame. We recall the negative, focus on our faults and generally have a harsh internal voice. This is akin to brainwashing yourself with negativity, and the more you play the negative story, the stronger and faster those neuronal pathways become. Like superhighways of misery.
I’m advocating getting on to a narrow, windy bike lane of appreciation and starting to forge new pathways which will, over time, gradually wire up and become a default pattern within your brain. This is the responsibility that each of us can take for our own well-being and mental health, a little like eating five serves of fruit and veg a day, not smoking , exercising and avoiding substance abuse. All of these lifestyle factors lead to better mental and physical health.
Neuroscientists have identified that in a very short space of time, ie days, the glial cells which insulate neurones and allow faster firing, will begin to move away form neuronal pathways which are no longer being stimulated. That’s why we forget stuff we’ve crammed for exams, right?
But the good news is that you can use this in a positive way. Stop telling yourself that negative story and it will begin to fade.
Start a practice of appreciation and your glial cells will start to migrate towards the new, active pathways, forming a strong insulated sheath around them and improving speed and ease of the pathway firing.
Of course to do this you need to develop a practice. A regular practice, twice a day if possible for five minutes. I do it first thing in the morning. I call it waking in appreciation, and as soon as consciousness kicks in in the morning I start my practice. It’s best to start with immediate experience, kind of like this …”this bed is so warm, so soft. My body feels rested and ready for the day. I appreciate my house which is warm and dry, and the tea waiting for me in the kitchen. My sleeping family are all around and I appreciate having them close, creating this wonderful, safe cocoon around me.” Stay with the warm feelings this generates inside you and I guarantee that soon you won’t let yourself miss a day! When negative thoughts arise let yourself know that you will take care of them later, for now you want five minutes for yourself and for your practice!
The best thing you can offer those in your life is to be the happiest version of yourself, and this practice will help you do just that. Watch the people around you relax and enjoy your company!
No one else is responsible for this.
- Writing this post has been such a delight. I notice when I think about my practice a warm glow appears almost immediately. I’m a lot happier since I started taking this responsibility for my internal world, more positive and less easily knocked off my perch. Research shows that the effects contribute to build over time, and my anecdotal evidence is the same. I now ask all my clients to start this practice as a commitment to their own mental health and well-being. I hope you will give yourself this gift also!
It’s completely free!
Come on retreat with me to get your practice of appreciation going. You will meet like minded folk to support you in your journey of growth, have a fun adventure and most importantly, engage in a growth spurt!