Studies show our tendency to focus on the negative can sabotage our health, happiness and workplace performance. The amygdala, the primitive “reptilian” part of the brain, evolved to keep us safe by triggering a fearful response when we feel threatened. But today we face countless circumstances that can trigger a cascade of emotional reactions, all based on a perceived threat. Overstimulation of the amygdala has been linked to persistent anxiety, which is harmful to your physical health, relationships, productivity and creativity.
By practicing gratitude, we can override the primitive part of our brains and remap our minds for greater resilience, happiness and empathy, says resilience expert Anne Grady. She offers three steps to put the power of gratitude to work in your life:
- Look for it. Take a few moments throughout each day to identify things, people and circumstances in your life for which you feel grateful.
- Savor it. When you have a moment that sparks gratitude, take a couple deep breaths and focus on experiencing that moment and feeling.
- Express/communicate it. Expressing gratitude is contagious—it’s an easy way to give another person a lift and lift your own spirits in the process.
Along with mindfulness and meditation, these steps can break the cycle of negativity and focus your mind where you want it to go, instead of where it gravitates naturally. annegradygroup.com. PM