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Gratitude: Game Changer -Brain Changer

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

I’m in bed feeling depressed and hopeless. I can’t afford gutter cleaning, a laptop, or medical costs. Feeling shifts to anxious, sad and alone. I cry tears of grief.

I become aware of the warmth and comfort of my bed.

I have a roof over my head.

My body takes a deeper breath and relaxes.

Yes. In this moment I am safe and secure. I have a lot.

I acknowledge the comfort of the mattress (handed on by a friend), the bed, carpet and floor - everything right down to the earth.

Then what’s on top: the sheet (great quality op shop find), feather doona (too warm for a friend), the ceiling, roof, insulation, tiles, sky and universe. All things I usually take for granted.

Learning gratitude

I’m thankful I attended a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshop because I learned how to

articulate what I’m grateful for. On that night and many others, this practice brought me peace and sleep.

It works in a similar way to a grounding technique for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that I learned in counselling. When I was highly anxious, finding and naming, silently or aloud, five things I could see, hear, sense or feel would gradually shift my brain from fight/flight mode in the amygdala and bring the decision making prefrontal cortex back on line.

Naming things in gratitude also calms my nervous system.

Writing gratitude

When my sister sent me a gift of a small and very beautiful book she’d bought in Paris - I experienced gratitude and grief simultaneously.

I loved the work of an artist in California on the cover. My sister said, “It’s so you!” and it was. But I was also sad because I just could not see myself using it.

I really wanted to use it and so I asked the question, “Is there something I can use it for?” The next day I was gifted an answer and I began a new and very special gratitude journal.

When it was full, I bought another and another by the same artist. They all have a magnetic catch that symbolises to me how easily things I need come to me – like a magnet. I found that gratitude is a practice that supports manifestation.

Sharing gratitude

Writing a letter of gratitude to a dear friend had me going

back through diaries to discover that we first met in 1999. Wow! Twenty-two years ago! Reflecting on all the things we’d done together and the myriad of ways she’d supported me was an inspiring ‘stock take’ that left me in awe. I made a date to read it to her. She was moved to tears and in fact we both cried with joy. The love between us was overflowing and it was a very special and memorable experience. I’ll be giving this gift to other people in my life.

And it turned out this gift of gratitude to my friend was also a gift to me.

This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, you can read more survivor Gratitude Blogs:

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