If you've ever wondered
if GRATITUDE was
just a bunch of WHOO WHOO....
then this is for you.
I was recently asked to be a guest on the Podcast
Mindset Meets Mastery
where I was asked that exact question.
Click the link below to listen in:
Today was one of those A-HA kind of days
in which you SEE something
you've looked at a thousand times
in a totally different way.
This afternoon I spoke at a Springtown Elementary School
for RED RIBBON WEEK
to an excited group of "little" friends.
As I looked out at nearly 600 faces,
I had to work hard NOT to cry.
After spending almost 25 years of my life in a school,
I thought I'd felt everything there was to "FEEL"
inside those brick walls.
But, for some reason,
today hit me with a new revelation
as to how extremely important a teacher's job is.
Watching those little smiles,
witnessing those wiggles, giggles and excitement
in some of the most well behaved kids I've ever observed
(from the opposite side of the stage)
helped me to SEE children with new eyes.
It was a genuine honor to share (with my new "little" friends)
how vitally important it is,
for people OF ANY AGE,
to understand how their BRAIN works,
and what to do with it when we get upset.
Being inside an Elementary School today
was such a HUGE reminder
of the incredible responsibility we have
to those who count on us for leadership.
Whether it be your own children or grandchildren,
your employees, your team, your friends,
or a group of almost 600 strangers....
the task is still the same!
Do they see something in you
that helps them grow,
or do you make them feel small.
As I drove home today,
I was filled with a new sense of urgency
to help adults become more aware
of how crucial it is to teach the children in our lives
the importance of REAL GRATITUDE.....
which is so much more than saying "thank-you".
Statistics from universities around the globe
show that being truly GRATEFUL is a behavioral game changer.
Research also shows that the best way
for a child to become a grateful teenager
is for them to have seen GRATITUDE
from someone they love and admire.
It's so much easier to create good habits
that help us gain control of negative feelings
before years of "bad" wiring
have created brain patterns
we later want to change.
Who knew such a life altering,
eye opening experience
would come through the eyes of a child.
If you'd like to know some practical ways
to build a practice of GRATITUDE
with the children in your life...
I'd love to send you my
Building Family Gratitude List.
Just email me using the form below
and ask for the "Daily Dozen"
and I will send it to you free of charge.
May we all start today
being an example
for our "little" friends to follow....
because even when we don't want them to-
Have you ever had a negative thought?
The kind you keep playing over and over in your head.
Did you realize that each time you THINK about it or tell the "story",
your MIND makes the THOUGHTs worse?
And.... with each-next worse, imaginary repetition,
you get your emotions involved
which makes the thoughts in your MIND become REAL.
I've heard for years that when you're upset
you need to VENT or just "LET your anger out"
but neuroscience research does NOT support that statement.
In fact, it is quite the contrary.
Brain scans show that each time we repeat a hurtful
or negative situation in our MINDS
we make those connections stronger.
And....when we tell someone about it
(with the same intense feelings as the original altercation)
we are causing a reaction in our brain
that is almost identical
to the ACTUAL moment it occurred.
WOW... do I wish I could go back and get a "redo"
on some of the things I have told myself OVER and OVER and OVER.
That's why hatred builds,
and anxiety heightens.
With each repeating of the mental "STORY"
we are making the connections in our brain deep and strong.
Which is also exactly why GRATITUDE works.
Any thought repeated over and over again GROWS!
What thoughts are you repeating?
So.... if letting the negative feelings OUT
causes them to make lasting neurological connections.
What in the heck are we supposed to do
when we're hurting or feeling upset.
Data by leading neuroscience researcher
and best selling author of
Words Can Change Your Brain-Mark Robert Waldman,
and Dr. Andrew Newberg say that
"Expressing anger is destructive, but this doesn't mean
we should completely repress negative feelings.
That too can be quite damaging."
Research shows that one of the most constructive ways
to deal with unwanted emotions
is to BECOME AWARE OF THEM!
Though that may sound trivial,
it is also precisely what makes GRATITUDE work as well.
When we become consciously AWARE of our emotions- GOOD OR BAD,
we become the boss of them
rather than them being the boss of us.
Further research states that
NAMING your emotion is crucial to moving THROUGH it.
So... the next time you are AWARE of your negative feelings.
STOP, take a deep breath
and become aware of your sadness, anger, or guilt.
Say to yourself, "I am feeling hurt
because someone treated me as if I don't matter.
That makes me feel invisible and unimportant."
Instantly, by naming your emotion,
you have caused the brain to move into thinking mode
rather than emotional mode.
And... that is the key!
No one can think their best, or make the best choice in an emotional moment.
Then... take another deep breath
and let the "WHY" statement soak in,
because that is the source of your sadness-
the other person just set off the trigger.
Start today taking control of your Negative Thoughts
before they start making connections in your brain!
Today marked a pivotal moment in my GRATITUDE journey,
as I signed the papers-
SELLING a piece of River-front property, I once dearly LOVED.
BUT... thanks to a truly "CHANGED" brain,
my entire perspective toward this day was ALTERED!
When my ex-husband and I bought this land, over a decade ago,
we had BIG plans to one day move here
and live a life with a water front view.
I love the WATER!
I love the sound it makes as it flows
and the way it glistens in the sunlight.
I love to watch the movement of a river
and how the currents are gentle but always flowing.
I love the smell of water (especially after it rains),
and I love to float in the water with beams of glowing heat on my skin.
"And this afternoon.... those moments were over!
However, I can truly say....
I did them with a smile on my face
and a warmth in my heart.
Because, today, I was keenly aware
of how the practice of GRATITUDE has changed me.
Rather than being sad about
all the things I would no longer be able to do on this water,
or all the plans that went by the way-side...
I was honestly filled with a sense of peace,
knowing I still have things more wonderful
than I can imaging yet ahead.
It was in the exact moment that I signed my name
on the final line, that I felt one of
the most POWERFUL moments of GRATITUDE I have ever felt...
when I "Released" this property
as a GIFT of love for those who will come next.
I closed my eyes and wished them wonderful days of sunshine, love and water.
I felt my heart FILL past overflow with sincere blessings
for the many wonderful memories
they will surely have along the water's edge.
I walked out of that Title company office
glowing with a pure sense of TRANSFORMATION.
My heart knew that just a few short years ago
I wouldn't have been able to "FEEL" this way.
And rather than feeling sad,
I am almost giddy with joy for what lies ahead
for my family as we look forward
to all the incredible things yet to come.
I saw so clearly today what the Bible says about
"Letting go of those things which are behind
and reaching forward to that which lies ahead."
So.... it is with GREAT Anticipation that I reach forward
with an overflowing peace
knowing my steps were planned for me long ago,
and it is up to me to BE GRATEFUL for the journey.
I treasure every wonderful memory I had on the banks of this RIVER,
but know beyond a shadow of a doubt
that I have wonderful memories on the road ahead.
GRATITUDE has taught me many lessons over the last few years,
but none as POWERFUL as what I witnessed within my own heart today.
Sometimes life doesn't turn out like you planned....
but did you ever stop and think
that THERE IS SOMETHING more incredible
than you could have imagined still in front of you.
When we hold on to bitterness, sadness and resentment,
we have no hands left to grab the glory that stands ahead.
What are you holding on to that is stealing your joy?
My greatest advice is to BLESS and Release it.
May we all walk forward in our journeys ahead
with a clean heart and a GRATEFUL mind.
Today I began training at the Brain Performance Institute
with The University of Texas at Dallas
to get a certificate in EMOTIONAL Intelligence.
It was such an eye opening experience
seeing the OPPOSITE side of GRATITUDE.
And... even though I've been studying the brain
every single day for many years now,
I am always in awe at the amount of knowledge
that continues to unfold daily
about our AMAZING BRAINS.
EMOTIONS are always a hot topic when you discuss relationships.
And, instinctively we know that they can MAKE or BREAK not only our day;
but also impact our attitude toward every interaction.
However, I was totally unaware (until today)
of how LONG it takes our brains to
regain their full THINKING capacity
after we've had a negatively charged emotional situation.....
even if that situation involved NO WORDS!
So....GET READY..... wait for it....... you're not going to believe this......
it takes 18 MINUTES
for the chemicals produced in the brain
(after a negative EMOTIONAL situation)
to get back to a place where we have
our FULL, BEST, THINKING abilities.
I don't know about you,
but I don't have 18 minutes to waste.
However, now I see
why things often go from Bad to Worse
in the middle of an EMOTIONALLY charged moment-
Which makes... Controlling the MIND, vitally important.
I will be talking more in the next few weeks about the ways
we can REGAIN our highest and best thinking abilities,
but..... at the very top of that list
is a DEEP breath and a few moments of MINDFUL Awareness,
(which we were also privileged to get to participate in today as well).
WOW oh WOW what a MIND-BLOWING day!
So.... the next time you feel yourself getting emotionally agitated,
STOP and take a deep breath.
Though we've all heard about how BREATHING can change our heart rate,
few people realize it also alters the oxygenation capacities in the BRAIN
.....especially in an upsetting moment.
And.....here's a little unsolicited TIP:
DON'T TALK when you're MAD....
because more than likely.... you'll regret it!
And.... now I know why,
it takes 18 minutes to get your chemicals
back to ideal thinking mode
(unless you train your brain to change) !
15 minutes of Mindful Meditation
can relax the BRAIN as much as an hour of sleep,
and some research shows it's like a cleaning for your brain.
So, give it a try.
There are tons of options for free guided
relaxation meditations online to choose from.
Find one that works for you.... and give your BRAIN a bath!
Staci is a one-of-a-kind mix of JOY and Neuroscience who is teaching people all over the world to BUILD a BETTER BRAIN by using Gratitude to create a BRIGHTER future. She has a Master's Degree in Educational NEUROSCIENCE and 25 years of teaching experience where she developed a reputation for being able to uncover potential in others like no one else could. Let her teach you how to live a HAPPIER Life by using the neuroscience of GRATITUDE to rewire your brain and build a better future!