You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 247. I’m talking about some new things I’ve recently learned about gratitude. Stay tuned.
Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.
Hey friends, Jen here, and I want to talk to you today about gratitude. Happy thanksgiving, for those of you in the US, and for those of you outside of the US it’s a great time to talk about gratitude. What are we grateful for? Now, gratitude in November can be a cliché, I get it. But we are nearing the end of this amazing year of 2020, the year from hell some of my friends have called it, the year that was a blank show, insert bad word that I don’t want my kids to hear, that year. The year of a pandemic, and an election, and kids not being in school, and financial troubles, and, and, and.
I think this has been a year when we’ve trained ourselves collectively to focus on what else is going to happen in 2020? I heard someone say 2020 should be a swear word. It has been an interesting year. By the way, I predict 2021 is going to rock because I say so, I’m going to make it rock. Want to be with me? Join me. 2021 is going to be like THE year. We are doing this.
Well, anyway, thinking about gratitude I realized I have let my gratitude practices slip lately. I don’t know when they slid away. I changed up my morning ritual a couple of times this year and I realized I used to repeat three gratitudes every morning and now I haven’t been doing that. Oh gosh. Well, we know that gratitude is an excellent tool to combat depression and energy.
There’s so much research on gratitude, but one in particular I know about, there were 300 college students at a university who were seeking counseling for anxiety or depression. And researchers got their permission to put them in a study, assign them to three randomly assigned groups, one of which wrote gratitude letters every week for three weeks. One group wrote letters about a negative experience weekly for three weeks. And the third group wrote no letters at all. And they compared these three groups and their reports of depression and anxiety 12 weeks after the study began.
And what did they find? Even 12 weeks later, even though these groups only wrote what they were grateful for, the one group wrote about it for three weeks. They were significantly less depressed and less anxious compared to the groups that wrote nothing and the groups that wrote the negative things.
So gratitude not only works, not just in the moment, but it builds and it lasts quite a long time, and why do you think that is? Well, like I said just a minute ago, I think we’re constantly programming our brains, telling our brains what to see.
Our brains filter 60,000+ thoughts a day and only present a few of them to our consciousness. And how does the brain decide? Well, I believe it bases it on the thoughts we have repeatedly thought and we’ve trained our brain to know, oh okay, this is important. She’s constantly thinking this: 2020 is terrible so let’s show her the thoughts that prove this correct. This is an important thought. We need to keep validating this thought.
So, for example, if you believe you always hit the red lights, your brain is going to bring that to your attention. You will see them, and see them, and see them even if you’re hitting just as many green lights. This is called your brain’s reticular activating system. So after this entire year of programming our brains with thoughts like life is hard, this is horrible, I can’t do this, my kids being home is driving me crazy.
We need a year where we’re programming some new stuff in there. And really gratitude becomes the basis. Gratitude is saying to your brain, I hit all the green lights. My life is really good and here’s why. If you’re constantly telling your brain to look for the good things, to look for the miracles, it’s going to do it for you. It’s going to provide evidence to your mind. So how do we tell our brain to do this? How do we interrupt our negative pattern that we’ve all created in 2020 and start doing it differently? So we can ensure that 2021 is freaking amazing.
It’s going to be for me, I’ve already decided. In fact, my December 2020 is going to be amazing, why not? Well, we need to program our brains and that’s one of the most important things we do in our morning routine. You’ve heard me talk about BE HER before. BE HER stands for breathe, exercise, hydrate, embody, read. Five easy steps each of us can do in the morning, even if we just spend one minute each we can program ourselves to feel better, it’s like priming the pump to feel amazing.
Again, those are breathe, exercise, hydrate, embody, and read. Now, that embody piece, that is when we stand up and have the posture of the person we want to be, confident, a confident voice, a confident posture, a smiling face and maybe, just maybe you choose to also repeat out loud the beliefs you want to prime into your brain like I hit all the green lights.
Interestingly, Matthew McConaughey, he just wrote a book called Green Lights, how life gave him so many green lights. When another person could have written the same book and seen only a bunch of red lights. It’s such a fascinating thing. So you can wake-up every day starting today and think of three things you’re grateful for.
The blue sky, if you look at it and you try to feel it you can start to generate a warmth, a love, a positivity that you feel physically in your body, in your heart area. I love the blue sky, wow. We don’t get a lot of that in December in Wisconsin. I really love it when it happens, let me tell you.
Or you woke up, because you’re being mindful and you’re training your brain to focus on gratitude, you look at your daughter, you’re like, I love the arch in her eyebrow, that is so elegant and natural. I want that eyebrow. Now, we’re not generating jealousy, just the gratitude. I love how that feels when my daughter rubs my back.
I want to challenge you to really not just be grateful and count your many blessings. That’s all fine and good, but to truly understand why you want to do this. Think about your brain, the more you practice it as soon as you wake-up, the more your brain will know hey, this person, this human wants me to present the good things to her and wants me to point them out. Your brain will. You can walk around having the belief that your daughter is hard, and loud, and whiny. Your brain will give you plenty of evidence.
But if you wake-up and program your brain to say my daughter is sweet, and thoughtful, and smart, and fun, your brain will give you evidence. It is amazing, you should try this.
Okay, more research. Did you know, gratitude before bed in the form of a gratitude journal, people who do that report longer sleep, deeper sleep, better sleep? I want more sleep, gratitude at night, not just in the morning. Did you know gratitude; people who do gratitude journaling show a decrease in their blood pressure and decreased likelihood of developing a mental health disorder?
Here’s a good one, gratitude researchers measured people’s gratitude, optimism and positive emotion levels at one point in time. Then they tracked how long these people lived. Those who were more optimistic, and more positive, and more grateful at a certain age, they totally lived way longer than those who weren’t. I want to live a long life. My son, by the way, he’s all into bio hacking and bio engineering. He tells me he’s going to live to 150. He’s going to discover the ways to do it. So keep your eyes on that, my son.
Alright, gratitude increases energy levels, at least the perception of energy levels. Yes, please. Here’s a good one, we all want to exercise in, especially in 2021. But really we should be doing it now. Did you know those who do gratitude journaling had more physical activity during that week? These people were randomly assigned, one group was told to gratitude journal, the other group was told not to. Those who did the gratitude journaling spent at least 40 minutes exercising, 40 more minutes exercising that week on average. Yes, please.
So how are we going to do this? I’m going to challenge you to send a thank you, meditate, and meditate on the things you’re grateful for. Express gratitude in a prayer, do your gratitude journaling, wake-up with three gratefuls and do three grateful for’s before bed. Here’s a fun one. I like to send gratitude energy. You can close your eyes and just imagine the feeling of gratitude, you can generate it in your own heart area or wherever you feel it. And then send it to someone, just imagine the light, the energy going to someone else, it’s kind of fun.
You can do gratitudes at your family mealtime. So many options. I personally am going to go back to my three grateful for’s every morning and every night. I’m going to try to journal a bunch at least once a week.
By the way, grateful for’s are really important for marriage. Whenever I find myself thinking my husband is less exciting, less appealing, less worthy of love, in other words, when I get negative about him. If I just go back to my gratitude journal and force, which is what I have to do at the beginning, force myself to write the things I’m grateful for. I tell you, after about a week or two my entire attitude towards him shifts, and why is that? By gratitude journaling I was telling my brain, “Hey brain, I need to see these things about him.” My brain started presenting them back to me because I was programming it every time I practiced writing them.
So train your brain to give you what you want, to feel good so you can sleep better, and exercise more, and live longer, and have less depression and less anxiety, have a better marriage, love your kids more. All these good things, they really come back to gratitude. Well, I love this stuff. I love the thought of doing what it takes using the tools that research has found for us to boost my mood. You know why? My kids are watching. Your kids are watching.
Each of you listening grew up in a home with a certain baseline mood. Maybe you grew up with a relative, a mom, a dad, who was negative, critical, depressed, anxious. You as an infant and on up, all the way on up until you moved out were exposed to that energy, to that way of thinking. Your brain was listening when your mom or your dad talked about the negative things. Your brain probably picked up on those as being important things to notice. So if you had a critical mother it’s probably a challenge you face to not be critical.
What would it look like for you to give your kids a different baseline? That is exactly why I create this podcast. I’m guessing this is part of the reason why you listen to this podcast. You want to be a better mom. You want to be a better person. You want to feel more joy and more vibrance and vitality. And you want your kids to pick up on that too.
How would it look for your kids to learn an entirely higher level of thinking, to uplevel their baseline mood because you did it? Well, that is my focus for all of 2021. In the Vibrant Happy Women Club we’re going to be focusing on all of the tools you need to uplevel your mood, tools like EFT tapping, thought tables, Feel It to Heal It, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which can really be destructive in a marriage.
We’re going to be talking about finances and energy, and physical things you can do to boost your mood, how to boost your mood all year long so you can be the most vibrant and happy version of yourself. So that positive thoughts are your baseline, that they’re automatic. So that positive mood is your baseline and is automatic. So that your relationships are healthier, your body is healthier, all of these things they are very, very related and correlated.
And if you want to make 2021 your best year yet, plan on joining us in the club. Doors will be opening soon. I am super excited to make 2021 freaking amazing and I hope you’ll be with us, it’s going to be good stuff.
Alright, my friends, go write in your gratitude journal and let’s make this December the best part of 2020. And let’s keep going into 2021, we deserve this, our kids deserve it, in fact we all need it and our kids need it. We can raise our baseline energy, our baseline mood. It becomes contagious, our kids pick up on it, our spouses pick up on it, the world picks up on it. Let’s do our part, let’s be a light, let’s experience that joy and happiness that is our birthright.
Thank you so much for listening, I love you all. I am grateful for you all. And have a fantastic week. I’ll talk to you again soon. Take care.
If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at jenriday.com/join.