How Gratitude Makes You Happier

It’s a rainy grey day. Strange, because in fact it’s the middle of June. We’ve all seen so much rain and thoughts of climate change are always lurking. But oh – the greenness! The sheer size of the trees covered in a mass of green, expanded to their weighty glory as I walk through the park with the dog. Boughs bending down to the ground, communing with long lush grass. Everything permanently damp and plenty of opportunity to use one of my favourite words, petrichor: the smell of the earth after the rain. Even in this the dampest of days, so much to be grateful for.

The word gratitude has become so trendy. Gratitude diary, 'attitude of gratitude' - you’ve probably seen these things mentioned frequently recently. But why is it that people are realising that it’s so important to be grateful?

If you ever meditate, enjoy a sport or get lost in a book or a film, you know what it feels like to be totally immersed in feelings of happiness. We release feel-good hormones at these times- serotonin, oxytocin and neurotransmitters like dopamine - all of which help us to feel happy, calm, safe and content. If you sit for a moment and truly allow a feeling of gratitude to flood your heart, the same thing occurs. When oxytocin levels are raised wonderful things happen on physiological levels. Research has shown it improves circulation because it is a vasodilator, and this is good for heart health.

Everything is energy! You, me, the chair you sit on, the table - all composed of atoms vibrating at various frequencies. The energy of your happiness has a frequency too. Those living with ease and grace give off a certain quality that attracts others.

Do you remember those toys that used to sit on top of office desks in the 70s? Newton’s Cradle I believe they were called. Metal balls suspended from a metal frame, all hanging equal lengths, and if you pick the one on the end to swing and hit the rest it sets them all off in motion. At first it is chaos: balls clanging everywhere, fast and slow but very soon you know that it becomes synchronised until all the balls are swinging together in exactly the same time. This is called entrainment. The reason I mention it is that energy may change its frequency according to the movement of objects around it.

Newton's Cradle

If this is true for all matter and all energy is matter, then our frequency of happiness and gratitude can create change around us as other frequencies alter to fit it. Deciding to experience gratitude may seem a strange thing to do. If you have to decide to do it, perhaps you feel it’s going to be fake. But the brain does not know the difference between real and fake in this sense. Studies have shown that experiencing fear from a movie, for example, produces the same response in the brain as if it were a real event you were experiencing.

Fear from a movie produces the same response in the brain as if it were a real event.

Doesn’t it make sense that we should create feelings of gratitude in order to change our environment? You know what happens when you ‘get out of bed on the wrong side’. Everything seems to go wrong after that. If you’re in a bad mood, you attract moody people and things just don’t go so well. And on a good day, when you feel in the flow of life, you just know -all is well. You feel light and clear. You could call it a state of grace.

Zoom out to gain a new perspective

Maybe you struggle to get from a feeling of dissatisfaction to gratitude… if so, have you ever tried this zooming out technique? When I feel overwhelmed and things seem to be getting on top of me, I imagine I can zoom out and away just like a giant camera on my life. Imagination is so powerful – everything we know we are going to do exists only in our imagination! This zooming out technique is just a simple way of gaining a new perspective. It can really help you to see that in fact despite the little things in the big picture, all is well, and then gratitude for that can be found more easily.

They say if you write down three things that you are grateful for every day, you will literally change your brain. The neural pathways will change from defaulting to negative thought patterns, and instead follow the new path of least resistance - gratitude. It’s all a question of making it a habit. It takes a bit of effort, but if you want to feel happier and have more good things come to you in life, gratitude for what you already have could be the answer.

If you’re aware of the Law of Attraction you will know this already. The thing about the Law of Attraction is that you must do more than just want something. It used to be said if you wanted it enough, you could have it. If you write it down, if you put it on your fridge, if you recite it like a mantra you will receive it. But there is another vital step to this spiritual law. In order to create the correct frequency for what you want, you need to feel as if you have already received it. As you will know, like attracts like.

This afternoon I added writing a blog to my already extensive To Do list, not sure how I would fit it in but gave myself a deadline. I had an appointment this afternoon and turned up in good time. As it happens, I was in fact half an hour early. And I am so very grateful for that mistake, because I have manifested the time to write this piece.

Three things. Every day. And watch what happens!

Thank you for listening.

Janie Whittemore

The Healing Company

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