Updated: Nov 27, 2021
It certainly has been a season of transformations, a season that we can witness now fully to be a landmark of unprecedented changes in almost every aspect of human kind, nature, science and technology!
In spite of the multiple challenges, struggling times and new outlooks that we keep witnessing as they continue to be developed, we are part of the new evolution that can be part of our lives if we simply embrace the best of us, if we happen to be curious about our inner realm and if we just allow presence and love for our simplest moments that bring us joy!
Without external pressure to change we certainly wouldn't be able to make the big leaps in our internal transformation that we need! Why?
Simply because we really enjoy being in the comfort zone, having the easy road access to many things, taking the shortcuts, immersed ourselves in the distractions of doing to do's list, complying with the life that is required from society, that is demanded from all the external noise but hardly ever having time to reflect about our own internal lives and sadly getting many times to the lowest point of our lives finding out that we have been wasting plenty of years focusing on the wrong things, worrying excessively over things that we can't change because they're not up to us and forgetting that the ones that we can do change don't need our worry but our actions to be able to arrive to the destination that we want!
Almost every day and every where you can see someone complaining of everything they don't have, they lost, they missed or looking to criticize or excuse themselves from the life that they have created!
Very rarely you find people that are tuned in to how good their lives are, all the loved ones, friends, encounters that are grateful for, and of course all the blessings that they have in their lives, because they have taken some time in the morning to appreciate all the majestic opportunities that they will have throughout the day to make it just as they want it to be!
What would you feel if you suddenly wake up one morning and find yourself in a world where everyone is grateful for their lives, where everyone seems and really is in a positive mindset, where instead of finding grumpy or disconnected faces in your walking or commute to your office or wherever you have to go out, you suddenly run into these kinds of people?
How would you feel if almost everything around you started working the way you want it to be? And in spite of not being everything, you suddenly find yourself "forced" by a new society that encourages you to look for the spot of positivity instead of the spot of negativity.
Does it make you feel uncomfortable this type of reflection or does it make you feel inspired and hopeful?
That simple trick to picture in your mind a different kind of world can give you a huge amount of information of how much you have let yourself be driven by the "program" of the society that we live in nowadays, where complains, comparison, division, criticizing is the "trending option" and you have let yourself be surrounded of so much toxicity that is completely normal that you're already one of them!
On the other side when I ask you to picture yourself in the situation where things were positive then you started to realize that there were another kind of life that you could be able to access a different level of mindset and if you really perform the exercise of picturing yourself being encouraged and depicted of so many thoughts, words and actions of gratitude you then were able to feel that amazing power that gratitude had within you!
Well, exactly that is the whole purpose of this reflection, to enlighten your mind with the framework, with the landscape that gratitude can and will have in your life if you dare to start living more in that kind of energy!
Having said that, let's unpack the powerful internal changes that gratitude will start to provoke in you as you open yourself to the possibility of thinking with a different direction and purpose.
1. Gratitude is a positive emotion that can be experienced when a person appraises that another person (i.e., the “benefactor”) has done something notable to intentionally benefit the self. This natural dyad of grateful person and their benefactor has led to hypothesis tests about each member of the social dyad and, in turn, this body of research has helped to advance theorizing about the dyadic-level social functions of emotion in recent years. The emotion of gratitude helps solve a central problem of human survival by identifying potential high-quality relationship partners and binding people into relationships with those individuals (1).
As stated above when you start to feel grateful for something someone did for you or something that happened to you as a result of someone else's intervention, you suddenly will start to feel that amazing feeling of bonding with the other person in spite of not knowing who he/she is, that effect within you will also awaken another powerful friend of gratitude which is compassion, this cascade of positive emotions, will place yourself in a state of surrendering to the emotions that you know will take care of you, that you're feeling that extremely powerful sense of being protected, cared, recognized and belonging that will complement a full circle of surrounding yourself with the right kind of environment mentally to help you navigate under safe waters as well as keeping you away from toxic emotions.
As we have read or listen in our lives and of course, many of us, have experienced this beautiful emotion of gratitude, under that state you can't feel a negative emotion, because your heart and brain are creating a powerful connection that is internally releasing neurotransmitters such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and of course BDNF, all that cocktail will allow you to maintain yourself in the mind of a beginner and be open to learn new things and become receptive to new ways of thinking without judgment.
2. An expression of gratitude, then, may not merely result in the building of a single relationship between grateful person and benefactor; instead, a single gratitude expression may carry the power to build relationships with multiple observers of the same expression, with both members of the original dyad. If true that one person’s emotional expression may influence multiple members of the group directly and simultaneously, these multiple routes of emotional influence would likely combine to influence the overall functioning of the group over time (1).
This argument or trait of gratitude, as proved by research is the other incredible factor that will enhance a potentially chain reaction of being grateful and in spite of you being the witness of an expression of gratitude, you will be able to absorb the energy of those interactions and most likely be stimulated to follow the example or at least stay in a positive emotional loop that will direct you to act accordingly.
And we have all lived those kinds of events or we have all witnessed those expressions of gratitude, unfortunately many times we are able to see those examples when something tragic is happening to certain group, community, or country and a very high amount of people is showing their support by donating, helping or working as links to raise awareness of the situation.
When we are watching those shows or samples of affection towards others we also immediately feel compelled to do something and contribute in whatever way we can to help as well.
3. At the individual and dyadic levels of analysis, gratitude “runs on the relational currency” of a construct called perceived responsiveness: Perceiving a benefactor’s responsiveness to the self can lead to gratitude, and in turn, when benefactors perceive responsiveness in a person who is grateful to them, this hooks the benefactor further into the relationship. That is, whereas the behavioral expression that acknowledges the benefactor’s action (such as greater praise) creates a bridge to the benefactor, the benefactor’s subsequent perception that the expresser was responsive to the self makes the benefactor more likely to cross the bridge back to the grateful person again, thus completing the connection (1).
Lastly, the third effect that gratitude will have in your internal way of perceiving the world will be to enhance, promote and create a much more powerful connection with people involved in the gratitude circuit, additionally expanding the circle and the community to perform the same kind of behaviors which if you reflect more about these kind of research, you will be able to easily perceive the world that we were just describing as "ideal" in our reflections above! Isn't that ironic?
That gives you the outlook and hope to start using the amazing power of gratitude to start accessing a new way to live, to start creating the kind of life that you want to attract and to start raising your own energy vibrations into a higher frequency that certainly will bring as a rewarding effect the purification of the kind of thoughts that you're having, the perception of things that you were no longer seeing around you, the accumulation of benefits that will start to unravel the mystic magic of gratitude!
And maybe it will give you the sense of reflection that there's just one emotion that you were able to access and everything started to shift into a whole different landscape, can you imagine if you start going beyond and cultivating the side effects of gratitude such as joy, happiness, satisfaction, compassion, empathy and of course the other amazing powerful emotion "love"?
What do you think that can happen? If you just dare to live your life with a side dish of gratitude every time you wake up, every time you suddenly perceive something amazing in your life, every time you have the blessing of having a roof under your head, a table with the food that you love, people around that are there to support you and that you know they are there for you in health and sickness.
We should all be taught to navigate in the waters of gratitude instead of being poked and driven to criticize, judge, hurt, compete, envy, compare, diminish, etc. All that cascade of negative emotions often encourage in social media and news are the ones that will always lower your energy and make you believe that you live in a world where is utopic to harness the power of the amazing emotions and all its benefits just by practicing more often!
Just to complement a little more about the science of gratitude in terms of healing effects, research has shown several examples of changing your hormone patterns into more powerful hormones regulating metabolic functions, producing a buffering effect in insulin, raising adiponectin, balancing leptin and of course lowering levels of cortisol and adrenaline! If that is not enough for you, you will also perceive and feel much more satisfaction with your life which means your serotonin levels, dopamine and oxytocin are also creating a powerful inner chemistry for your brain and mental health, which is something that through this year you really could have access to and aid you to lower the negative repetitive patterns promoted by media.
Hence, I dare you to test it in your own life, every time you encounter yourself criticizing something or someone shift to being grateful for something in your life, every time you find yourself giving excuses to justify a behavior or a result or your own life that you were not expecting shift it towards finding the lesson and appreciating that you're alive and surrounded with love, every time you struggle with self-depreciating emotions or behaviors, breathe and be grateful that you were able to recognize them and that you're more than enough to change them into behaviors that will make you stronger, wiser and show more love towards you and others around you!
1. Algoe, S. B., Dwyer, P. C., Younge, A., & Oveis, C. (2020). A new perspective on the social functions of emotions: Gratitude and the witnessing effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119 (1), 40.