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Ep. 38 - The Benefits of Gratitude Will Motivate You To Be Thankful Everyday

by Hearts Rise Up
January 18th 2021
A conversation about the power of Gratitude to improve your life so that you rise up to your best self every day. Join us in this episode of the Hearts Rise Up podcast with founders Carol Chapman, Con... More
Thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of the Hearts Rise up podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host along with my co host and Siri and Concetta antonelli? We share our own personal experiences, tips and strategies along with powerful stories and compelling insights from guest interviews. We're here to inspire and empower your conscious evolution, help you tap into your inner wisdom and rise to your heart centered higher self. Together we can rise to a higher level of consciousness, an elevated state of being and experience more love, joy and freedom. Mhm. Mhm. Welcome to all our part centered listeners. My name is Concetta antonelli and I'll be your host for today's episode featuring myself and the other co founders of Hearts Rise Up, carol chapman and Ansari.

We'll explore how a gratitude practice can enable you to rise up to your best self every day with some supportive scientific research to validate the positive impact of practicing gratitude. We'll also talk about our own personal experiences and invite you to do your own research by offering some exercises to get you started. So let's get right to it. Hello, carol and ann hey how are you? Hey it's great to be here. Yeah, I'm doing okay and I'm really excited to talk about this topic because it seems more and more useful in my life in particular as I did a little research on this, I was really amazed at how much they really the science behind it. They've done a lot of research of the impact on the body on the mind. I mean how can we not have a gratitude practice is what I've been finding and one of the things I found from the positive psychology website article.

What is gratitude and why is it so important? The author gave some definitions and the one that stood out for me, was it from Harvard Medical School? And they said a thankful gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible with gratitude. People acknowledge the goodness in their lives and as a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals, whether to other people nature or a higher power. I'm wondering what about you? How do you define gratitude and do you want to take that? Sure. Sure. Well the first thing that comes to mind for me is a child. I was often told by my grandmother who was my hero, that I need to count my blessings all the time. So if I was complaining about something or having a hard time, she would typically turn me around by saying, you know, you need to really count your blessings.

Then she would say, what are some things that make you happier? What are some things that you have that maybe some other kids your age don't have. That was my earliest experiences with having a gratitude practice. I used to, I came to do that and I also remember too little prayers one before going to sleep and one when waking up that also which I don't have memorized right now. But that also talked about being grateful for what you have and being grateful that you woke up. So I that was my earliest experiences. But I certainly have many experiences of gratitude over by many decades. Mm hmm. Yeah, I'll go ahead now. And I think for me the, the definition from gratitude or at least it's really more of a feeling for me and I have been practicing it for some time now and I and I every morning I just really take the opportunity and every night it's part of my morning morning and evening practice. Two focus on the things that I am grateful for in my life.

And it has, it just makes me feel better. I think it's more emotional for me. It really helps my emotional and psychological health more than anything. And I do know that the research out there suggest many, many different benefits. But the one that really stands out for me and just how I define it. It's a feeling and I have to focus my attention on it And by doing it full of times part of my morning and evening practice. And of course I do think about it during the day as well from time to time when things come up for me it's it's a nice warm feeling. I'm just breathing that in. I think that for me as well that that warm feeling is a game changer often as as I look at the practices that I do. But more importantly, it is that just that feeling in my chest when I can acknowledge particularly and I've written about this particularly when I'm in pain, it is so easy to go to a place of this is forever or you know, catastrophizing, you know, and and then then I start making plans for how to adapt to this particular catastrophe just because I'm having some pain and it can be as simple as saying, okay, stop for a moment here and let's see where aren't you in pain now.

I realize there are days when all of us have pains that it seems like it's taken over our entire bodies when I do that. So I start saying I'm grateful for the fact that my little tool isn't feeling. Um and it does, it it really does shift the energy for me and at least for a few minutes and if I have to, I'll continue doing it. I can find some ease in whatever experience I'm having. And there was some other research that I looked at. But I really love this. This quote said, gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state thankfulness and appreciation, which means that we can get to that state and what you're saying here was a joke, That one. Yes, it's almost as if it's a state of mind and that state of mind is felt within the body and the emotions as well. And I think that that's something that when we, when we focus on that, then we feel it.

And I think it's interesting how you are saying that gratitude has helped you deal with pain. And I know that there's research out there that says the gratitude improves our physical health and that people who are grateful and practice gratitude or or just have that overall state of being or state of mind, experience fewer pains and aches in their body and feel healthier. Absolutely. And I think too, it's nice if we can do that now without going through some major catastrophe to learn the lesson of how grateful we should be for the abilities that we have. And too often people have either had a major illness or an accident and when they recover from it boy, they're different, they have a different mentality about life in general, but they're grateful for every day that they have. So why wait for a catastrophe? It's just trying put our attention on that gratitude.

Now, I agree about the pain too. I know and and working with patients in hospice, we had often some of the social workers or some of the massage therapists that would come in and help somebody to really focus on areas that did feel good and that would often take away some of the pain and sometimes the body is holding onto emotional pain. So just having an outlet massage or someone to talk to help release a lot of that pain. So in many ways, gratitude helps us with pain. Yeah, I have to say that it's almost a way of releasing that pain because you're taking in the feeling of gratitude and by taking that in, it evokes the opportunity to release whatever is in the body because it can't really exist in a state of gratitude, you're reminding me and when you were talking and about your grandmother saying to count your blessings, it reminds me also that in some ways, gratitude can be in dealing with pain, the art of distraction.

And it reminds me of when I was working with Children, Toddlers and generally toddlers can be anywhere from 2-4 years old if they're angry or if they're crying or or if there's they're sure, of course they often are single monday at that point and you want to distract them, you just maybe hand them another toy or give them a reward of some sort when they have stopped crying. But it's the same, it's similar for me when I think about using it to ease some pain, is that sometimes if we're just continuing to say, oh this is bad and I can give you an example this morning. I was a little surprised. I've been having a pretty good time waking up in the morning for a good part of my life. I would wake up with a lot of negativity and it's difficult to move through that. And so this morning when I woke up, some of my first thoughts were to begin to criticize myself. And honestly, I was surprised that that had occurred.

I found myself easily being led into more and more negativity. It was surprising. I was like, wait, where am I going? And just that moment of that, I distracted myself. There were some other things on my list of practices this morning and so I just, I ended up and the negativity lifted or at least I wasn't thinking about it anymore. So to me that's also one of the benefits of developing gratitude practices. It can become a tool to move away from. And I'm not suggesting that we don't feel our feelings because that is important. But if you find if I could find myself or if anyone finds themselves going down there, the slippery slope as I call it, it's a great tool to have and and it is a bit like a muscle I find and continue to develop it. I agree with that. Yeah, we do have to agree. We do have to develop that muscle. And I was reading a little bit in preparation for this discussion that Oprah when she started during her gratitude journal, She said for 10 years, she wrote down five things every day that she was grateful for, she said she had to practice it.

And so creating the practice is what it's all about because then you build the habit but you are also benefiting from the energy that you generate and what she said and this is her quote. I practice being grateful. You then radiate and generate more goodness for yourself. And it changes your personal vibration. So there is where the energy drain from self talk can be negated by the rise in your vibration from the gratitude. Practice it inspired me. I do journal and I do often include a lot of things I'm grateful for. But to make it an intentional, Here's five things I'm grateful for today. I'm going to try that. I like the fact of writing it down and sometimes I get a little bit lazy because I do like to write in a journal but I can go through phases with it and when I do use a journal I often will incorporate one section for just things that I'm grateful for.

And I feel much better when I do write it down and particularly when I go back and I review over time, I do like to review my journal entries and it's interesting some of the things that I have felt grateful for in the past and it's a nice reminder. So I think that journaling is a great way of practicing it and getting it down on paper, a good way to go back and see. I know there are days when I think there's nothing coming through. It's not that I don't have anything to be grateful for. It's just for for some reason that I can basically say I'm grateful that I woke up this morning. But beyond that I can't seem to really land on anything in particular. So I picked up a journal where I've been writing and and and it's great to reflect back on that and then it does as as you were saying and with over his quote it does somehow reignite. I guess it's a good way of saying it. The way I feel about it reignites the gratitude fire that I have inside of me that I've developed.

I was curious since you were studying Concetta. Some of the positive psychology have they done studies on how gratitude affects us? The physiology just like they say with a smile, you are changing your endorphins and things. Did the same thing happened with gratitude? It appears that that's what they're saying. For example, I can tell you about the physical health they save improves sleep because it activates the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system which is also called the relaxation response. So just like we're talking it shifts the energy and so if you reduce that then you're going to relax and hopefully you can get better sleep. It's interesting. It says that it makes you exercise more often interesting. That is that's one of the studies show that people who kept gratitude journals, Exercise 33% more each week compared to people who weren't keeping these jobs. The possible explanation, I know the possible possible explanation is that being grateful for one's health makes you want to to protect it by exercise.

That's amazing. I ran across another article A study that was done in 2012 by the University of Kentucky and it was saying that they found that gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression, which I thought, boy, we could really use a lot of that right now if more people were to practice gratitude because people are more likely to behave in what they refer to as a pro social manner even when others behave less kindly. And they basically said that they're less likely to retaliate against others if they if they feel that they've been, you know hurt or harmed or they just feel negative or feeling like they're they're they're negative about things that they may encounter with other people. So what happened in the study was that they experience more sensitivity and empathy towards other people and just a decreased desire to actually seek revenge. So that's I think pretty remarkable, I would have never thought that that's some good news.

That's some good statistics you could use that right about now. You know, it's just something I never thought about, but I think it's really interesting there. It also the study shows that it reduces pain. We've talked about that, that I love this word, it says that they may have an analgesic effect. So that is just like taking an aspirin or they're calling this that it stimulates the release of endogenous or opio. So if we can get that naturally sometimes I think that's a good thing strengthens our immune system and I think speaking to what you were just talking about it lower stress which we in charge and restart the relaxation response. Their findings here is that it helps you live longer. Oh and here we go that you were talking about this, it says it makes you more understanding, compassionate, helpful and kind person. Yeah, that's really remarkable. I would think that those behavioral patterns would be certainly associated with a gratitude practice. There was another study that I had come across to that gratitude improves self esteem, which I thought was interesting.

I was in a journal of applied sports psychology around athlete performance and improved their self esteem, which was an essential component to optimizing their performance. And they also found that the studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparison. So rather than comparing yourself to other people which often a lot of us do that you know who has more money or a better job or you know a lot of those things when you're comparing yourself to others that can be a major factor in your level of self esteem and if you if you're comparing yourself you might have less self esteem and and also what they found was that grateful people are able to appreciate other people's accomplishments more, which I thought was really interesting. That makes sense. I know most of what we've been talking about have been things that really help us internally externally too feel better about ourselves. And I know gratitude is also just a byproduct of it is that we are able to have better relationships with others.

So I know in one of my classes when I was in school, appreciative inquiry was something I was fascinated by in the positive psychology world and it's how to create a less defensive atmosphere as a consultant or as a manager trying to get to a better result without creating defensiveness. So it's taking something and asking questions in an appreciative way, which is like gratitude then affecting positive change from that and we can use that in all areas of our life. So if we're in a relationship with a sibling or spouse and there's something that keeps coming up, come at it in an appreciative way instead of an accusing way and then you can usually get a positive result out of that. And if you're in relationship with people and able to thank them whether mentally or verbally or in a written note, it really is a pay it forward kind of thing where people will then feel good themselves and hopefully turn around and be in a more positive relationship with somebody else.

So it's like those commercials now that one person smiles at another and then they helped open the door for somebody. I just love those commercials, but that's the kind of atmosphere we should all generate. And what you were saying. And is the research I looked at as well, is that it improves professional skills? Well, I guess we could say by being more positive or smiling, let's just make it bad. I mean, it can be as simple as that is. If we smile more, it generates for me more warm and positive feeling inside of myself. And I do, I feel lighter and which means it's harder to feel defensive. It's harder for me to feel because often if if I'm defensive, it's because I'm afraid I'm going to lose something. And in a professional environment, certain professional environments, it can be very competitive and that's part of it, is that we've come from a place of appreciation, then I think I I find it much more, it's easier to relax and to see some common ground and even in my individual relations, not just professional, but I thought this was a study that said, grateful physicians better physicians.

And I was intrigued by that. And they said this was the conclusion of a study looking at doctors making diagnosis on the basis of a given list of illness from a hypothetical patient. Doctors who were given a piece of candy prior to this task, thereby inducing a feeling of gratitude, made the right diagnosis more often than doctors in the control. I just thought that was fascinating that they came to this, that gratitude improves decisions and personally I can just equip equate that to if I'm feeling more appreciated and then I'm going to be more willing to, well, here we go. It goes back to relax or in that state of mind where we're not guarded. We can look at more possibilities as well. Yeah. I think practicing smiling is a really interesting approach to gratitude as well. I have done that in the past. There have been days where I just if I'm out and about, I'll just put a big smile on my face and it makes me feel more appreciative of life and the beauty of life and my life and how things are going.

I tend to have a more positive outlook on things when I smile. It's amazing. Yeah. And people notice when you smile and then they usually react by smiling to you too. Mm hmm. Yeah. They gravitate towards people who smile when I think about it too. I think about service. You know, and why we like to go to certain stores or certain store clerks more than others is because of that appreciation. Somebody who really whether they really like their job or they just like people and our open and natural and thanking you when you come into shop versus somebody who doesn't even acknowledge you or look up at you when you're paying at the cash register, you, you go away from it feeling either very heavy or very light and that influences your decision on if you're going back there or not. And it's so easy just to thank somebody. I have 35 plus years of thanking people at the cash register.

So I think I got that practice down, but it really does make you feel good and you can see it's an energy exchange that really does lift somebody up. It's true. Some of the things that I've done recently and within the past as well is I like to bring flowers to friends and family just, you know, out of the blue, I like to write positive reviews for businesses because, and I've gotten some feedback back, you know, from a positive review and just, you know, people were just so grateful because I was so grateful in my review. And another thing that I've been doing is writing gratitude letters as of late in sending gratitude cards. Either either in, you know, just a regular physical card or the card. It's just something that I came across it a while back and I thought, wow, what a neat idea I'm going to start doing that. That's wonderful. Yeah. Yeah, I know, and I get a handwritten card nowadays, it's just like it lifts you up for a couple of days and you put it out to look at it.

It does, it's so true. Yes, so I think that for me practicing gratitude is really an act an action. It's taking action doing it through action. And that's obviously I do it when I'm doing my morning and evening practices. But I actually like put it and put it into practice by actually, you know, coming up with creative ways to share my appreciation and gratitude to others. I have long held the belief that and, and and particularly because I have been a therapist and a counselor, no matter what a person came to me for or why they came to counseling. The bottom line was they wanted to be seen and heard and I find that that's what practicing gravity, debt, being able to let people know that just like you were saying and the cash register just saying, being grateful to people and listening carol to your practices of sending out.

I'm just doing reviews. I did one this morning and at first I thought it was interesting experience. I was like my review won't matter, it doesn't matter. But then I said just go ahead, just do this. And it was for a night of my purchase. It was something tangible. So I said okay I'll just tell them why I purchased this item again and do you know that right after this is the first time this has happened. I got a pop up window and they actually said we are so grateful that you took the time to do this. Thank you so much. I was ready to write another review. It was so I yeah, yeah, worth it. That was to me was a tangible experience of what the both of you have been talking about. That's wonderful. I'm smiling now after telling you that story. It's nothing but it won't. I love that. I love that. Really. I mean that's a great story and they really did appreciate it.

Yeah. To take time to put up a little pop up window from time to time. I, you know, I have a few friends or acquaintances that call me just out of the blue just to have a chat. And oftentimes that maybe they're just going through something and they just want to share and I'm just there to listen recently, I've gotten a couple of people who have come back to me afterwards, either an email or a text just thanking me for my time and that it really helps them and it's so nice to feel that you've done something for someone else and knowing that someone else is grateful to you. So it goes both ways we can feel, feel grateful and show our gratitude and but it's wonderful when others show their gratitude for us and you know how we have touched their lives in some way.

Yeah, that's why I'm I'm so ingrained and volunteerism both in my job and my DNA because when you're serving others, you're outside of yourself. But you're also able to have a greater perspective of what to be grateful for. Because you can see people who are in need, whether it's in need of physical health or if it's in need of food or shelter, just anything you can do to serve others without expecting anything in return, just like fills you up. And it's it's something I learned as a child because my grandfather used to invite strangers over to my mother always complained about that. But she's he used to invite strangers over for all the holidays. And I would say to my mom, why don't we do that? And she said, well we live in the country, not the city, but she would then get us to go down and served at thanksgiving at a church or do something else in the community that we lived in.

But it has certainly impacted me in a way that makes me want to give as much as I can because I'm grateful for what I have. Mm I love that. Anything else. Well, I'm going to do what you said carol the writing it down. I don't always write it down. So I think I'm going to try to do that a little bit more and write some more notes and something else I read in the positive psychology article was even if you don't get to say thank you out loud to thank someone mentally for something that it is a very helpful technique as well. Yeah I was reading somewhere also. I can't remember where it was but it was saying Spending you know 10 15 minutes before you go to bed um writing down things that you're grateful for. We're just incorporating as part of your journal practice before you go to bed will help you sleep better. Oh wow, I should do that more.

You're talking about the journal in the evening carol. There's also another thing that I find it was a book written called the Book of Delight And this person wrote it because they had decided for a year they wanted to write about delightful things and it wasn't in my mind a delightful thing is always something that would bring a smile to my face make me happy. But this person pointed out it does not, it isn't always bad. And so it reminded me of what a quote by ralph Waldo Emerson who said be grateful for everything that comes to you. And so that's another aspect of gratitude practice and I started doing the book of delights and so we need time. Something comes to me that can either be profound or it can be silly. It can be an unhappy but something that that I'm grateful for that it's arrived in my life. That's what I do. I put it in my little book of delights and it's another way of going back.

You can use that also like you were saying about going back to your gratitude journal to go back and and see those delights and see those things that impacted my life. Um So that was just 11 other practice way to practice gratitude that I wanted to share. That's cool. Yeah. I had a similar thing that I did once in school and I've done it a few more times since where you make a timeline and you indicate all the major events in your life and then you meditate on each one objectively and see how it shaped you and give thanks for that. And even if it was like you said it painful and anything else. There's another book I'd recommend. That's been out for a long time. Simple abundance. Have you either of you heard of that? That's a good one. You're on Brett not simple abundance. Yeah. Just daily Simple things to be grateful for really. And it's got some practices in it To uh to what was the name of another book again? It's called the Book of Delight.

Okay. I thought that's what you said. Yeah. I don't have the author's name you're reminding me. And of how if you need a prompt, there's obviously plenty of things out on the internet but that's a great book that if you find yourself needing some structure around keeping the gratitude journal. It's great to have those daily crops. What are you grateful about? For example your health or what are you grateful about in nature? Great what else? And I'm grateful to have connected with the two of you over all these years. I've learned so many things that have enhanced my life and I'm really excited about Hart's rise up and the hearts resonance primer. Can you tell us more about that carol? Sure, yeah. I'd like to share with our listeners today that we have been running a course this fall called the heart resonance primer and we're right in the middle of it and we're going to be offering it again after the first of the year. This course is the first in a three part series that it really helps you step into moving your life into a shifting how you care for your mind and body basically is what it is.

It's a stepping stone along the journey to creating a heart centered life and by creating a series of habits and practices that create more coherence and harmony in your life. It's a great way to shift how you care for your mind in your body and how you relate to others and even to yourself, what we're finding is the structure of the course is basically runs over 5 to 6 weeks. The first week is really a pre week of pre course prep and things and then then it launches into the second week and the remaining weeks of just a series of morning and evening practices and just creating new habits and shifting how you do things in your life so that you can create greater openness connection and trust with within yourself as well as everyone and every everyone else in your life, what we call it, the heart residence primer because it really is a primer. It's there to just kind of prime the pump to get you ready to shift what you do in your life and to, you know, move into a bigger life.

That's, that's really been calling you. So we're going to run again after the first of the year, which is a great time to start a new year. And so if you're interested, you can check it out at www hearts rise up dot com. Heart resonance primer and will put a link in the show notes here so that you can go directly to it and find out more. I have to say I've been involved in the course for going on three weeks now. I have learned so much and I'm really appreciative of the fact that I can go and look up the articles that you put in there in the resources like on nutrition on an exercise. I've been really helpful for me. Great. And actually we've been running it in a course platform and a community platform called mighty Networks which is really a great, great platform. It's really does not have all the distractions that like a facebook would have, it's so much more. It's very robust. But at the same time it's very focused And you don't have all those distractions.

Mm hmm. Yeah, I just found that. And we're three weeks in. I feel like we've been doing this much longer than that. Because there's so much in the course. And also that. But I feel like I'm expanding on the inside from the force. Definitely encourage people to to sign up next time. So, is there anything else we want to add? No other than I just hope that this conversation helps our listeners to think a little bit more about gratitude and how you can incorporate it more in your life and influence others to do the same. Well, said, thank you Concetta, thank you for leading this today. It's just been an awesome conversation. Yes. Thank you. Thank you so much Concetta. You're welcome. Yeah, it's been great. Okay. Mm hmm. We hope today's show helped to bring a bit more joy and happiness into your heart. We hope it inspired you to unleash your inner power and rise up to your best and loving heart centered highest self. We'd be grateful if you'd leave us a review on itunes. Those reviews are important to spreading this valuable message.

We'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and share the show with others. Visit hearts rise up dot com For heart centered courses guided meditations and are popular notes from your higher self until next time. Keep rising up and may all that you love thrive.

Ep. 38 - The Benefits of Gratitude Will Motivate You To Be Thankful Everyday
Ep. 38 - The Benefits of Gratitude Will Motivate You To Be Thankful Everyday
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