All of us get stuck in negative cycles. Sometimes it's a food cycle where we find ourselves eating foods that wouldn't be our first choice for health. Sometimes we get into a string of bad luck where things are breaking, our family has a tragedy or work becomes unpleasant. It's easy to sit back and think, "Look at all of this stuff happening to me. When is it going to stop?"
But honestly, there is only one way to make it stop. It's to change our own mindset, our own habits and our own view of what's happening. This funny thing happens: when we feel bad we emanate an air of grumpiness or anger or sadness. And the people around us can sense it. And we ourselves can sense it. It sets us up to continue to make choices that perpetuate our mood - like a donut instead of a salad. Once we do that we feel bad about our choice and the cycle continues. The people around us feel it and may become defensive or avoidant - meaning they have more trouble supporting you the way you need.
So, the real question is, how do you break free from such a cycle?
The number one answer is gratitude. When we practice gratitude, in the right way, we actual reset our brain, reset our emotions which resets a series of biochemical chain reactions in the body that affect health, mood and the way that we interact with others. I do this every morning, even on the days that I drop my iPhone in the toilet, wake up with a crick in my neck or get some bad news at work. In fact, I do it especially on those days.
The Best Way To Do A Gratitude Journal
I actually started writing a gratitude journal back in 2006. I did what I was told. I wrote down 3 things every day that I felt thankful for. And I had a lot to be thankful for. I was a young doctor, had met my future husband, living in the fantastic city of Portland. But, I wasn't getting the full benefit from the journal. To get the full benefit from the journal you have take a moment to feel the positive emotion associated with the thing that you're grateful for.
For example, sometimes I'm just thankful that I have a really comfortable bed, and I imagine myself there, relaxing, laying down, letting the tension release from my body and I smile.
Sometimes I'm thankful that my husband built our amazing clinic. I look around the clinic (or imagine myself looking around the clinic) and notice details and the sense of peace, inspiration and motivation that I feel when I'm there.
Sometimes I'm thankful for a ridiculous joke that my son told me the day before. I allow myself to laugh and giggle and the things that a 6 year old finds funny.
Taking the time to feel the emotions in your gratitude will change your mindset, change your thought patterns and reset your emotions. If you're someone who struggles with mood or having a critical or pessimistic outlook, this will take time to have big lasting effects, but it is absolutely worth it, and you will still have positive effects each and every day you do it.
Resetting your brain with gratitude also reduces stress, gives our adrenal glands a break which in turn takes pressure off of our entire hormone and immune system. This is a crucial part of what we teach in our program, because if we treat your adrenals, but they continue to get attacked by your brain, we can't ever fully resolve the issue.
So, give it a try, resetting your brain with gratitude. Break the negative feedback loop that your brain sometimes traps you in. You'll see benefit for your mind, your body and everyone around you.
Next week join us again to check out our detox bath recipe for another way to reduce stress and break the cycle of negativity.
Christina Bergstrom MD