Something that Hugh Jackman swears by every morning, before he even gets out of bed, is gratitude journaling. I can attest that this method of rewiring my brain to be grateful and blissful each day is not only a fun practice but can easily help you get out of a funk.
I’ve been recently trying to change my routine in which I am helping people in my nutrition counseling programs and volunteering my time at We Share Hope to overcome food insecurity. While these seem like positive changes upfront, the change of a routine actually causes cognitive dissonance within the brain. This is, unfortunately, the way for everybody. It’s the same concept when you are trying to change up your diet. Your body just freaks the freak out! (Not to mention give you excess flatulence — yikes!)
The tool(s) that have been helping me are not only keeping myself busy and knowing I’m making positive changes, but also gratitude journaling. Even by listing 3-10 things you are grateful for, you are already putting yourself in that euphoric state, which can set the tone for your entire day. How you spend your mornings affect how your day is going to be.
Now, where exactly did gratitude journaling come about? Well, first of all, gratitude journaling first came about thanks to author Sarah Ban Breathnach. According to a study reported by Mindful.org, gratitude journaling can lead to better sleep and lower blood pressure. With that said, just gratitude journal for health’s sake. And being the neuroscience nerd that I am, gratitude actually boosts serotonin and activates the hypothalamus to produce dopamine. Dopamine is what is known as the “pleasure chemical.” The hormone gratitude releases is oxytocin, also known as the “love drug.”
The word, itself, “gratitude” comes from the Latin word, “gratus” which means “pleasing,” “welcome,” and “agreeable.” The term “gratus” also relates to terms such as “grace” or “gratuity.” Gratitude has been practiced by Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu traditions. (Does anyone else find it strange how Catholicism is not mentioned? There must be some reason. 🤔) Gratitude was first used in the 16th century. The Bible actually mentions gratitude a whopping 157 times. Fun fact: the term “fear not” is used in the Bible 365 times, which as we all know is the same amount of days within a year. Think about this the next time you pray: fear not all year ’round.
With that all said, I invite you to pray and reflect with me: “One friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Let’s be grateful for all that we have, even if it’s how our hair feels after a much-needed shower.
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