What does Gratitude have to do with healthy eating and nutrition? The answer is: “everything!”
Just like when we consciously choose more nutritious foods to eat and experience such benefits as improved energy and lightness; when we choose to feed our minds with nourishing thoughts and gratitudes, we experience similar effects.
From my experience working with clients and observing my own mind, I’ve noticed that largely due to cultural and societal conditioning, we can tend to go towards thinking about what’s missing, what we aren’t doing “right”, feeling guilty and beating ourselves up. It’s for this reason, that I begin all my health and nutrition sessions with the question, “What are 3 things that are going well?” and have recently began asking: “What are 3 things you are grateful for today?”
This gently directs our minds to a more positive stream of thinking, re-directing the critical or self-judging inner voice to what IS going well and all that we have to be grateful for. This doesn’t mean stuffing or ignoring feelings such as anger, grief or sadness. Even within the most difficult life experiences, there is always a light…if you choose to see it. Simply having food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and having good health ~ these are just 3 incredible things to be grateful for.
There is also a science behind the practice of expressing daily gratitudes. Scientists from the University of California have begun researching and studying practicing gratitude and so far are finding a number of benefits including:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
(referenced from Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, University of California, Berkeley)
Just like beginning your day with a solid, nourishing breakfast, start your day by feeding your mind with positive affirmations in the form of gratitudes. Keep it simple and make it fun. For some it could be journalling, creating a gratitude jar, or mentally reflecting on 2 or 3 gratitudes as you wake up in the morning.
Test it out and see how the rest of your day goes… starting your day with gratitudes will no doubt have a positive and uplifting effect on yourself and those around you!