Sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that our primal nature can run more deeply than we think. Often times, we as humans, tend to focus on the negative aspects of life that impact us. This is not necessarily coming from a place of malintent, or an active choice to be negative, but it is simply survival. We tend to focus on the things that could have an adverse impact on our ability to sustain life.
Back in the day of our ancestors, this looked something like this: if it’s a rainy day, I can’t build a fire, and therefore it will be much more difficult to make dinner. Difficulty making dinner and nourishing our bodies has a direct correlation to the ability to survive. Thus, we may have seen the rain that particular day as something negative that is causing additional stress in our life, as opposed to remembering that rain also brings life in the form of water and food.
The things that cause us stress in today’s modern world look a little different than they did for our ancestors, however, they are still rooted in a survival instinct. Stress at work may affect other aspects of your life, such as your perception of financial security, or your relationships at work and home. While these connections may not seem as obvious as the aforementioned example that would have caused stress to our ancestors, it still taps into those survival instincts that are integral to each and every one of us.
This instinct and tendency is designed to help us learn from and remember situations that had the potential to endanger our lives so that we can avoid them in the future.
Despite this natural tendency as humans to focus on the negative, we have the ability within us to change our perspective, through the expression of gratitude.
“It is not the joy that makes us grateful.
It is the gratitude that makes us joyful.”
The concept of gratitude is much more highlighted during the month of November. Across many cultures around the world, this time of year (at least in the northern hemisphere) marks the end of the harvest season. Usually, by the onset of this month, there will be no more harvesting of crops and the coming winter is upon us. It is during this time that many cultures choose to express thanks for the blessings of sustenance they were given during the growing season and to have food that can be preserved and consumed throughout the winter. This is also, of course, the month associated with Thanksgiving. Feasting and festivals are common during November, and expressing thanks is the core element of these celebrations.
To practice gratitude is the act of expressing thankfulness and appreciation for what we have in our lives. This, of course, does not have to extend solely to material possessions, but can be expressed for experiences, memories, or perhaps even feelings we experience day to day. Additionally, we also don’t have to solely express gratitude for things we currently have, but can also express gratitude for things we have had in the past, and the things we know to come in our future.
It is important to recognize that the practice of gratitude does not mean we have to go about our day pretending that everything is peachy-keen. As mentioned by the article titled “What Does it Mean to Be Grateful?” by Mindful Magazine, “Living your life with gratitude means choosing to focus your time and attention on what you appreciate. It is not to block out difficulties, but to approach those difficulties from a different perspective. Appreciation softens us. It soothes our turbulent minds by connecting us with the wonderfully ordinary things, great and small, that we might otherwise take for granted.”
Earlier we mentioned how we all have the power within us to change our perspective by expressing gratitude. This is because choosing to express gratitude has actual impacts on our psyche itself. Matter of factly, as pointed out by Psychology Today, there are seven common scientifically-proven benefits that are well known to be associated with a gratitude practice:
To practice more gratitude in life does not have to be a flashy, complicated endeavor. It starts with small actions that in turn become habits that have profound impacts on our daily lives!
Now this would not be a Golden Poppy Apothecary post without a sprinkling of herbal knowledge somewhere. Because this is the season of celebrations and holiday traditions that often incorporate feasting, or indulging (which we whole-heartedly recommend you fully partake in!), we figured a few suggestions on keeping our digestive systems happy during this time of year might be warranted.
To alleviate the bloating or discomfort that may come from fully enjoying lots of hearty, home-cooked comfort foods, we suggest perhaps sipping on a tea crafted from some of these herbal recommendations:
From our heart to yours, we wish you all the best as we begin this holiday season. And in the spirit of gratitude, we are immensely thankful for your support of our business. To each person that purchases a product, partakes in classes, or simply shares these blog posts we thank you, and are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve this community. Happy November!
Morin, Amy. “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.” Psychology Today. 3 April 2015. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude
Smookler, Elaine. “What Does it Meant to Be Grateful?” Mindful Magazine. 26 April 2018. https://www.mindful.org/what-does-it-mean-to-be-grateful/
Hara Estroff Marano. “Our Brain’s Negative Bias.” Psychology Today. 20 June 2003. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200306/our-brains-negative-bias
Renee Jain. “Why It’s So Easy to Be Negative (and What to Do About It)” Huffington Post. 2 July 2013. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/negativity-bias_b_3517365