“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
To get out of bed and be thankful for the ability to wake up in the morning. To be thankful that you were given the opportunity to start another day. Another day to make choices of how you live life within this fresh day. To take the opportunity and run. To open your eyes, to let yourself breathe in, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. To not take everyday beauty for granted.
The art of gratitude is grounding, it is a wonderful coping skill that can be practiced multiple times a day. One that does not require any tools or special skills, it only takes practice. When you’re standing in the grocery line, after having the longest, most stressful day of the month; look around you, what do you see that you appreciate. What beautiful thing catches your eye? What beautiful thought fills your mind? If a negative thought appears, recognize it for what it is, a distraction, a thought, and push it aside. Tell that thought “Not now, we can visit later.” Put that thought in a file folder, tuck it away and move back to the beauty. Now, we realize why this takes practice. The negative thoughts try to stick in our brain like a flashing neon magnet – NOTICE ME! NOTICE ME! Practice turning off the light switch and turning your head.
Why should we give this a try? This task is important because gratitude can boost our serotonin and activate our brain stem to produce dopamine, our brain’s pleasure chemical. The research in positive psychology shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness, hence why it is a superpower. Gratitude helps our brain attract, notice, and feel more positive emotions, and remember good experiences. It also helps improve our overall wellness and helps us build resiliency to contend with adversity. Gratitude also helps us improve and build stronger relationships. I mean, who doesn’t like to know they are appreciated, and important to someone?
So, get out there, or just take a look around you and take a few moments to appreciate all the beautiful things that surround you.