It is no secret that there have been big changes in my life in the last 9 months. For anyone who has seen me, there is clearly a transformation taking place. There are two transformations taking place, one internal and one external. The external transformation is very clear to everyone, but what is harder to see is the transformation that is occurring internally. And of the two transformations, the internal one has had a far greater impact upon my life, and through those internal changes, the lives of every person that I touch.
This article from the HeartMath Institute, An Appreciative Heart is Good Medicine, outlines some of the medicinal effects that the practice of Gratitude has upon the heart, the brain, and subsequently the body. A grateful heart is one that is less likely to have disease, less likely to suffer, and leads to a life that sees the world as a glass half full instead of half empty. Unlike many of the prescriptions I write in the clinic on a daily basis, this prescription does not have a list of ugly side-effect. That is not to say it is side effect free, it definitely has effects beyond those that you would expect directly from the practice, but they are side effects you look forward to with a sense of eagerness.
Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks.
This is the basis of the prescription, that you take a little time each day to be grateful. It is a simple practice and one that will only take a few minutes out of your day to undertake, and the lifelong benefits will be tremendous. It is a practice that I began some months ago and formalised in the last 90 days. It is nothing more complicated than taking a moment to sit each day and write down 10 things for which you are grateful. I do this every evening, and some evenings the list is virtually unchanged from the previous night. However, over time, it has become increasingly easy to generate that list and I find that the list of things for which I am grateful has continued to grow. As this list has grown, I have come to see things throughout my day for which I am grateful and am grateful in the moment as well as in the evening. In doing this daily, my view of events, people, and situations was changed. I found myself being grateful for the events, people and situations that had previously vexed me, I have begun to see the lessons that these events, people, and situations are there to teach me, and I am grateful for their presence in my life. As my gratitude for these events, people, and situations grew, I have seen that my view of who I am has changed as well, and this has lead to the external transformation that others see so easily.
So, as I sit on this Christmas morning in gratitude for all of my life, and the lessons that come to me every day that lead me deeper into gratitude, I give freely to you all, this prescription for a life filled with contentment and joy that naturally arises from a gratfeul heart. My thanks to you all for the lessons that you teach me on a daily basis and the opportunity to learn from such wonderful and lovely folks. Merry Christmas from Doc Grimes to you all.
Meditations on Gratitude