Gratitude Trumps Stress

by Scott Morrice on 04/27/2012

I just ran into a great post about stress, and in particular how the act of feeling gratitude trumps the stress we experience in our lives.

Now, I think that it is probably obvious to everyone, but when we are experiencing the feeling of gratitude it is difficult to feel stress at the same time. Just based on my own experience I feel confident in saying that these emotions appear to be mutually exclusive.

And I would suggest that therein lies a simple, but apparently effective, way of dealing with the stress in our lives!

I have already written of the evils of stress in my How Stress Affects Our Health post. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but it is something to avoid. In my A Definition Of Mindfulness and Does Hypnosis Work? posts I discuss the benefits of meditation and hypnosis (self-hypnosis in my case) as proven strategies in dealing with stress. This is a topic that is much discussed these days, and with good reason!

Ashley Davis Bush writes in her latest post in The Huffington Post that:

The absolute cheapest, bargain basement stress management tool is right in your own mind — the practice of gratitude.

Gratitude is the antidote to our most stressful thoughts. In an environment of gratitude, negative emotions cannot thrive.

She goes on to say:

Focusing our stressed minds on the things that we’re grateful for is like dousing a fire with cool water. Gratitude is habit-forming. With some practice, we can develop the habit of turning our attention to the plethora of blessings in our lives.

In her post Bush gives us 6 easy exercises that she suggests we practice at various times throughout every day to help us inject some gratitude into our lives. They are worth reading.

You can find Bush’s complete post here.

These exercises remind me of the technique I wrote about in my Smiling Brings Happiness post. The initial feeling of gratitude doesn’t even have to be real, you could be faking it—your body doesn’t know the difference. But once you start the process it becomes self-fulfilling—you do start to feel genuine feelings of gratitude, and your stress is held at bay!

As Bush concludes:

No extra time or fancy equipment needed — gratitude is yours for free!

I’ll keep you posted.

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