Gratitude Training the Brain

 Training the Brain

So much of what happens to us is out of our control. 

We can do our best to prepare to make plans, and this is a valuable thing to do. Because when the unexpected does happen we can use the plan to make sure we don't go too far off target.

But it doesn't have to end at planning. While we can't control what happens we always have control over our reactions to any event.

Controlling reactions is powerful because often the initial event that occurs while bad is compounded not due to its own impact by our response.

One of the most effective ways to take control of reactions is to cultivate gratitude.

This is because practicing gratitude lets us connect more quickly in any situation to what's right vs. what's wrong. 

This kind of mindset allows us to act more resourcefully and feel more confident, even in the face of adversity.

 


Sphere of Impact 1: (Personal)

To engage with personal gratitude means crafting your self-esteem. Esteem is critical in facing the criticisms and challenges in today's world.

Self-Esteem (not to be mistaken for egotism) is centered around clarity of self and connection to values.

What you are grateful for in these areas can show you much about yourself, where you put your focus, what types of things appeal to your senses and even your deeper "why". 

Thing
One of the most immediate gratitudes we can have is for things. Most of have so many things in our lives we probably barely think about them.

Bringing these into your focus can bring a mass of appreciation into your view.

Event
Every day we have experiences- big and small these shape our very perceptions of life. One of the easiest things to do is to concentrate on the one bad event that happened even if every other part of our day was wonderful.

Fight this inclination by choosing the event to think about.

Person
The people in our lives and the aspects we choose to focus on can not only shape who we become in the future but come to define our entire relationship structure.

By choosing what to focus on you'll be in control.

Sight
There is beauty all around us, and by focusing on individual moments where a sight takes your breath away or amazes you. By breaking down a moment into so small a piece you also become encouraged to go deeper into individual moments.

To be in the now, and when you can do this consistently you'll find yourself experiencing more joy.

Sound
Maybe it's nature. Maybe it's music, or a laugh, or mantra. Whatever the case sounds has the ability to transport us. By breaking down a moment into so small a piece you also become encouraged to go deeper into individual moments.

To be in the now, and when you can do this consistently you'll find yourself experiencing more joy.

Touch
The connection we experience things by touch cannot be understated. Learning to appreciate this extra element of your surroundings can add incredible depth to your experiences. By breaking down a moment into so small a piece you also become encouraged to go deeper into individual moments.

To be in the now, and when you can do this consistently you'll find yourself experiencing more joy.

Smell
With many things smell acts as the precursor to any other experience. Smell has more control over our mindsets than we commonly give it credit for. Start today! By breaking down a moment into so small a piece you also become encouraged to go deeper into individual moments.

To be in the now, and when you can do this consistently you'll find yourself experiencing more joy.

Taste
Our taste buds facilitate one of the most fulfilling experiences we can have, one that keeps us alive. Eating. Mind, and body. Humans have spent endless resources and time, cultivating and exploring the world to satisfy this sense.

By breaking down a moment into so small a piece you also become encouraged to go deeper into individual moments.

 

 


Sphere of Impact 2: (Relationships)

At this level, we begin to craft empathy by pulling in others into our gratitude.

This is usually for those near and dear to us, but don't be afraid to stretch yourself and consider acquaintances and even strangers at this level!

Internal Responses
How people make you feel is incredibly important. Often memory is reconstructed off of the final feeling we have in relation to an event.
If you've had an overall incredible experience, don't let one bad thing (particularly if it is the last thing to happen) shape your memory. Choose what will remember by engaging your gratitude.

External Responses
All sorts of things create responses for us, and it's these responses that make us alive. Even if they make us feel bad. Each one serves a purpose and is telling us something. If only we'll pay attention. Use gratitude to do this.

Time Contributed
We give and are given time constantly throughout the day. Arguably time is our most precious resource, recently re-branded our attention. So make sure you value this resource as it should be valued.

Resources Contributed
Whether it's material, items, money, or however else you can define resources. We see contributions in this capacity all the time. Maybe we received a present, or we find money on the ground. Recognize that this came from someone, somewhere and that knowingly or not they have contributed something to you.

Sharing
It's not just a one-way street. In all our gratitude categories there's a potential to have things shared- experiences, conversations, whatever it might be. Recognize that it's our shared things that shape so much of our lives.

Considerations
One of the easiest things to do is turn inward. To consider our survival and nothing else. This can make us mean and uncaring. Yet, every day people show each other big and small kindnesses and considerations. Opening the door, letting you in a lane, a simple smile, or a kind word. Connect with others by connecting with these moments.

Inclusions
One of the worst feelings we can feel is a sense of loneliness. It's a weight that suffocates, and when it happens we start to be unaware of those around us. Inclusion is the antidote, whether you are being included or including another. Recognize the power of this and include it in your gratitude.

 

 


Sphere of Impact 3: (Life)

The third sphere of impact begins to apply to others as much as the self. These categories no longer focus only on internal or immediate vicinity gratitude but are often team or group related. Sometimes you are involved with them, sometimes not.

What you recognize in others, is what you recognize in yourself. If you only ever see the worst in those around you, your brain has now been trained in this thinking and will see the worst in you.

Defeat this by celebrating those around you, those involved with you, and those that provided something to anyone.

Recognition
Few things reflect our values and inclinations more than what we recognize others for. What we recognize others for we will often start recognizing in ourselves. Let that you see in others and in yourself be empowering - not destructive.

Growth
While endpoints are important, we often don't pay enough attention to the smaller steps we make. To us, it often feels like it's not working (which makes us miserable), until suddenly it clicks and we wonder why it was so hard, to begin with. The truth is we were growing and improving every step of the way. Start to recognize these smaller steps and you'll find yourself far more easily motivated.

Victory
When something is achieved we should celebrate it, and celebrating it with others not only means we will be happy. But, doing so will also squash envy and even resentment. When you celebrate others you'll find yourself more willing to celebrate yourself and not be bothered by what others are doing.

Opportunity
Unless these are connected to a victory, we often ignore opportunities. But, they are the lynchpin of all our potential success and achievement. The ability to see and appreciate opportunities is one of the biggest secrets of every person massively successful person. Recognize every opportunity for the power and potential it has, even if it doesn't work out.

Challenge
Growth doesn't come without. We can't be better, know we are better until we've been challenged. In these challenges are not terrible things that happen to us, but points in our lives where we can choose to either build our confidence and determination or kill it. Appreciate your challenges for the person they have already made you, and for the person you'll ultimately be because of them.

 

 


Sphere of Impact 4: (Worldly)

When you can expand your gratitude to this reach some truly incredible connections happen. We are all storytellers in some way at some time, this is the core of big-picture thinking. To see the pathways that lead us to where we are- empowers us to face today with confidence that it will work out.

Gratitude at a worldly reach means you stand on the shoulders of giants.

Where you can go from here, only your imagination will limit.

History
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Holding appreciation for things past, that you do not have to experience what others have. That things have happened that allows you to start from somewhere those before you didn't is critical to expanding possibilities.

Legacy
When there's an impact that you make or that others have made on you it's critical to show your understanding and appreciation. For the event. Legacy is one of the deepest connections you can make with the future. Recognize moments of legacy for the incomparable impact they can have.

Progress
When a real difference is made or has been made it's critical we recognize how important these moments are. Recognize how things were before and how the progress will forever change things. Some critical moments in history have altered the course of the human race forever. Consider these and how your life is shaped because of them.

Form/Design
Learning to appreciate things for the thought and ideas that go into them will allow you to expand everything from your opinions to your creativity. Innovation is centered around understanding what's come before, what's needed now, and how we can continue into the future. By focusing on specific elements of cultures, environments, and even objects we are empowering ourselves to make connections that have endless potential.

Function/Practicality
The usefulness of things has always been important. Initially, this amounts to a physical aspect. But, over time even things like fashion serve a mental function. What function things serve is critical to expanding perception. Innovation is centered around understanding what's come before, what's needed now, and how we can continue into the future. By focusing on specific elements of cultures, environments, and even objects we are empowering ourselves to make connections that have endless potential.

Application/Involvement
Ultimately, what things are applied to - defines everything else. Sometimes where something is applied was not the original intent for it. Regardless we must see these applications and appreciate their evolution. Innovation is centered around understanding what's come before, what's needed now, and how we can continue into the future. By focusing on specific elements of cultures, environments, and even objects we are empowering ourselves to make connections that have endless potential.

 

 


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