Feeling Joy and Inner Peace with the Gratitude Formula

How a person is choosing to show up for themselves in their life could be directly related to their mental health which could also affect how they perceive things in their life.

Mental health can most often be a perception of their happiness.

This is attributed to the thoughts and emotions being constructed from the reactions and interpretations of what is occurring.

Gratitude is not the only thing that alleviates mental health functioning, but it is an important piece of the formula to experience joy and inner peace.

Gratitude is one attribute that promotes positivity with thankfulness. It places perspective on emotions that focus on accepting events, situations, people and things as blessings as opposed to dwelling on the negative thoughts or experiences.

Any type of new process takes time to implement or adjust to. That is the same with living with daily gratitude. Making it part of a daily routine requires patience before seeing or feeling it’s immediate results.

Studies have shown that it has a psychological effect, almost like re-wiring the brain.

It is re-wiring the brain to see the goodness in life by placing focus on it. People begin to notice that the source of the “goodness” in their life is not just external.

Through gratitude there is a connection to something greater than ourselves.

To think that gratitude can help to feel positive emotions, savor experiences, improve mental health, develop adversity, connect in relationships, it is hard to imagine why someone would not commit to a daily practice of gratitude.

However, with any habit, lies resistance or reluctance to follow through for change to occur.

A simple process helps with making it a consistent habit

Writing or saying one thing you are grateful for each day for 30 days is one way to start living into it.

There are many ways to express gratitude

  • Thankful for past memories or blessings during any time period of your life
  • Thankful for the present experiences, moments, situations in your life
  • Thankful for the future of hope, optimistic outlooks of what could be

Through my life journey I have realized the Gratitude Formula that works for me.

My Gratitude Formula

Acceptance + Acknowledge + Giving & Receiving + Curiosity + Wonder = Love, Connection, Joy

= GRATITUDE

Acceptance means appreciating the situations for what they are in the moment. What they are showing, teaching about life, others and myself.

Acknowledge means expressing the blessings wholeheartedly. The simple things that give joy for living each day.

Giving & Receiving means being open to allow the exchange of abundant appreciation.

Curiosity means continuously committed to being a student in life with expansion to learn, grow and transform in thoughtful connection.

Wonder means having captivation be visible in everything around you. The awe of how things came to be.

Knowing the benefits of gratitude is just the beginning.

If you started your day, everyday with focus on what you have instead of what you don’t or what you feel you are lacking, how might that change your approach in life?

What would you be letting go of?

What would surrendering to inner peace give you or others?

What would you be creating?

Gratitude is a powerful way of “being” which is a key ingredient to live with contentment, inner peace, and glowing elation.

Awaking to awareness within yourself

The word “meditation” is commonly used when the topic of presence is discussed.

There are some people that say, “I can’t meditate because I can’t turn my brain off.”

Some misconceptions about meditation

  • Mediation is not about turning the brain off.

It is about being present with your mind through a deeper state of awareness.

It is about training your mind to allow thoughts to come and go without directly attaching self to them. This helps to increase awareness of yourself and surroundings.

Furthermore, it enables someone to manage their thoughts while enhancing creativity, emotional balance and overall calmness.

  • Meditation doesn’t always feel relaxing. At the beginning it may be an uncomfortable process to be present with yourself.  Someone might think there are so many other things to be done on the to-do list and meditation takes away from time that can be used for other tasks. The process of connecting to oneself actually improves the efficiency at which steps are taken with clarity and effectiveness.
  • The method of meditation does need need to be self evaluated as right or wrong. There is no wrong way to meditate. Gradually it becomes efficient in the way you become present with yourself. That is all part of the process.

If you start by meditating for 2 minutes, that is good enough. If your mind is wandering for those 2 minutes and you find it hard to sit still, that is good enough. Repetition and discipline of the routine will gradually enhance the experience over time. That is where shifts in awareness are visible.

Meditation can take various forms.

9 common types of meditation practices

  1. Mindful meditation is a practice that helps you become aware of what your sensing and feeling in the moment without judgement.
  2. Spiritual meditation is a practice that connects you to something greater than self, to develop a deep relationship with the human spirit without the need to hold identities and labels.
  3. Focused meditation involves focusing attention on an object or physical sensation using any of the five senses to help increase awareness of the present moment.
  4. Movement meditation involves being mindful of the sensations that occur during movements.
  5. Mantra meditation is the repetition of a word or phrase that is whispered, chanted, spoken while being repeated during the meditation.
  6. Transcendental meditation is a practice where you mentally repeat a Sanskrit word or phrase with your eyes closed until a state of inner peace is reached.
  7. Progressive meditation is a technique that involves two steps of intentionally tensing each muscle group in the body and then focusing on relaxing them.
  8. Loving-Kindness meditation is the practice of generating loving-kindness towards self, others, all living beings through goodwill, compassion and kindness.
  9. Visualization meditation focuses on using guided positive imagery, ideas, symbols, thoughts, feelings or sensations.

Through the various types of meditation, the sole purpose is to center yourself. The various forms of meditation offer ways to do that.

Meditation offers the opportunity to develop emotional intelligence by connecting with emotions, the body or enhancing overall awareness.

This is accomplished through expanding states of consciousness and self realization.

You get to have present moment awareness by shifting from thinking to sensing.

Here is a simple meditation to help connect to your inner awareness;

Now is the time to be aware of the present moment. Say to yourself, “I let go of the past and future.”

Turn your attention to your senses.

Focus on the sounds right now that take minimal effort to hear. As you concentrate more, begin to notice other sounds. Just continue to be present with all the sounds that come and go.

Turn your attention to your body.

Take a moment to feel your arms wherever they might be. Your legs wherever they are. Bring awareness to any pains or tightness in your body. Any feelings that are present. Be aware of the shifts in these body sensations while being present to them as they come and go.

Turn your attention to your thoughts.

Watch your thoughts as they appear and float away. Allow them to arrive and pass without grasping them. There is no need to act on them or respond to them. You are just observing them. Each thought is just a message. There is no judgement behind the message. See the messages and let it pass by without attaching a meaning to it.

Turn your attention to your breathing.

Feel your breath as you inhale and exhale. Notice the sound, the air entering and exiting your lungs. Notice the speed of your breath. Slow the pace down as slow as you can.

Allow your breath to become deeper.

Sit and be with all the senses you were just conscious to without concept of time.
Allow yourself to exit from the meditation when you are ready.

What did you notice about the present moment?

What did you notice about your awareness for your inner self?

How has your perspective of the present moment changed?

Return to wholeness through nature 

Imagine walking through a forest with the trickling flow of water from a stream, overlooking a landscape filled with lush trees and plants.

It can feel so calming, so peaceful.

Being in the presence of nature realigns your energy.

I find it brings me back to my senses.

Just through simple observation of what is seen, concentration on what is heard. Directing my attention to the smells of surrounding plants and vegetation.

There is scientific evidence that suggests a strong connection to nature enhances emotional wellbeing.

Benefits Of Being In Nature

First, the cognitive adjustment in how we think and function is a complimentary benefit. The step of taking a break from electronic screen time and exposure to everyday tasks. Allowing the mind to relax and settle into a peaceful state.

Second, simply taking the initiative to get outside into a space where the senses can be awakened to ascend into a ritual of mindful surrender.

The natural sounds in nature such as birds, wind, etc, have a calming effect throughout the mind and body.

Third, the experience deepens your connection to the natural world and shifts overall mood in the process.

The effects can be noticed with reduced stress, lower blood pressure,  immediately improve concentration and focus, and the release of endorphins which contribute feeling a sense of wellbeing.

Fourth, the experience offers a deeper connection to life. A deeper connection to self.

With that felt connection is the soothing effect it has on mental health.

The ability to relieve anxiety in the moment, to bring calmness in the mind and body.

Nature provides presence with the wonder, possibility, and beauty for the creation of life.

It allows you to surrender to something greater.

An understanding that being alive is enough.

It teaches you about life. You notice the movement from the wind. You see the curiosity in how things grow. Exploration in how these living things adapt and thrive in their environments. There is a powerful possibility in it’s grandeur.

There is an eternal gratitude for nature as the sole supplier to our survival with food, water, shelter, medicine and materials.

It is part of the contributing factors to what brings joy in life.

The benefits of mindful breathing in your day

Instinctively we know how to breathe. It is something we are born to do and is part of everyday life.

Is it something we are conscious of?

The awareness of breath directly impacts many outcomes in regards to overall health.

How we breath is an essential part of regulating stress.

It calms the nervous system. This alleviates the various stress responses that would normally be engaged in survival strategies.

Choices are available that are not manufactured from the reactions of fight or flight response thinking.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, neuroscientist and author, explains clearly how the breath affects the internal functioning in the body;

When we begin to close our eyes and take a couple of slow deep breaths and become aware of it, we’re literally switching nervous systems. 

We switch from that fight or flight nervous system.

As we begin to breathe and we begin to turn on the other nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system, that nervous system is the nervous system of relaxation.

Your heart rate slows down, your respiratory system slows down, your blood pressure changes. 

All your blood flow goes into your internal organs and into your brain and metabolism, or better said, energy is being rejuvenated and restored and no energy is leaking out to address emergency situations, to address threats.

“By changing patterns of breathing we can change our emotional states, how we think, and how we interact with the world.” 

– Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, Harvard-trained psychiatrist 

Extended Benefits of Mindful Breathing

Overall, the benefits extend to improved focus, increased energy, shifted mood, and effective preparation for quality sleep.

All that is required is becoming aware of your breath. However, being aware of the breath is an action commonly disregarded throughout each day.

“Yoga teachings state that if the mind is moving so are the heart and respiration. 

When we are angry, our breath quickens; when we sleep our breath slows down. 

By consciously slowing down the breath and making it rhythmic so that consciousness is not disturbed by it, we can achieve corresponding tranquility.” 

– Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, psychologist, philosopher, & researcher 

This means that mindful breathing has the ability to support anxiety and calm it’s intensities.

When stress is perceived, the breathing pattern changes. The breath becomes shallow and short while improper muscles are incorporated in the breathing process. The functioning of the body is disrupted and symptoms of anxiety expand. 

Controlled breathing with slow breaths can bring the body back to operating in a non-stress state so it can function effectively. 

Types of breathing techniques

Depending on your curiosity and experience with breathing techniques, here are some types to try:

  • Lengthen the exhale
  • Equal breathing
  • Resonant breathing
  • Alternate nostril breathing
  • Box breathing

 

Practice breathing into a moment of stress

Imagine a moment of anxiety or tension.

Feel into that moment.

What thoughts are you experiencing? What feelings and emotions are you experiencing?

How is this affecting you in the moment? What are you doing? What are you not doing?

Now, imagine yourself taking a deep breath. Inhaling deeply, and then exhaling slowly and controlled.

As you inhale again, slow the breath and focus on the deep control you have of that breath. Before you begin to exhale, pause for 5 seconds and hold that breath.

At the end of that pause, exhale again slowly.

As you repeat the inhaling, pausing and exhaling a few more times, bring awareness to how that moment has changed.

What is different now?

What do you notice now that wasn’t present before?

What new choices opened up in that moment?

Did you see other benefits that accompanied awareness of your breath?

The awareness of the breath brings you back to your inner self.
Access to your inner knowing and acceptance of trust in the moment.

Mindfulness in Life Experiences

To be present in life requires mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being aware, paying attention without attachment by choice.

Choosing to be present in the moment.

Mindfulness is a state of being where body and mind are in the same mental and physical place at the same time.

In that moment, thoughts of past or future don’t exist.

It is so easy to go through daily routines or just “go through the motions.”

Mindfulness would be to step outside that pattern and be aware of the actions, things you are doing throughout the day.

The Benefits of Being Mindful

It can reduce stress by having awareness of thoughts and emotions that are occurring in the moment. There is an opportunity to process them.

Situations are no longer just reactionary.

What this means is having self control and not reacting  with a response of impulsive behavior. In addition, mindfulness allows for mental calmness in a state of composure. Within that composure is mental clarity and concentration.

You place all focus on what you are doing with aligned action. Awareness for where you are in the moment. Living into who you are choosing to be with intention and discipline. Functioning from a conscious thought process. This could be referred to as “the higher self” or “divine self.”

There is one important attribute that mindfulness offers in life. It is the ability to relate to self and others. In this space, kindness, compassion and acceptance are visible in awareness. Mindfulness can offer other perspectives. The perspectives offer other opportunities and choices.

There is a choice to step into the intentions of who you are being.

From my own personal experience, mindfulness has helped me with connection.

Mindfulness helps bring me back to a neutral operating state. Release from the dominating thoughts of judgment.

Letting go of the worries, the doubts.

It is a place of focus and intention on the present.

It breaks moments down into observable pieces.

You notice things start to slow down.

There is an appreciation for all that is right now.

Fading Presence Into Future Worry

Thinking about the future is something to look forward to. It is something that gives hope and possibility. It is the hope and possibility that create a vision. The vision may be within ourselves, others or the world.

Meanwhile, a fixation focused on the future becomes an obsession.

The fixation on the future overlooks the present moment. It transforms into attachment of an outcome or result.

Surprisingly, many important steps are overlooked in the process.

Some steps in the process include appreciation for the learning and growth, acknowledgement of utilized capabilities, celebrating the actions taken.

The need to control the outcome is one area where the focus is misplaced.

Trying to control the outcome is driven by the perceived fears. The fears most often threaten love, safety or belonging in one’s life.

We create  meanings from an outcome. It could perpetuate the worry of, “if it does not happen in the way I want, then it will mean…”

Eventually, worst-case scenarios begin to present themselves.  It begins to drive the need to control.

The stress response becomes active. We view the possible unwanted outcome as a threat to our survival of living.

Refocus The Worry

Focus needs to be directed back to the present moment, which helps alleviate the worry. It needs to be part of where you are now.

In some cases, our inner dialogue asks the question, “Is it enough, am I enough being where I am in this moment right now?” This question wants to immediately take you into the future to escape.

Instantly, deep breaths calm the stress response. You can continue to calm the worry. It needs reassurance of safety. It needs assurance of support.

Let the part of you, that wants to worry, know it is accepted and appreciated. That part of you is acknowledged in the present moment.

Take a step back and look at what might be creating the worry.

You can enroll trust in the steps you have taken. That will allow you to acknowledge they are leading towards the future.

Redirect your focus, what is possible now?

What choices are available to you now?

What steps can you take now?

Being present in the moment is the only way to be guided gracefully along the path to the future.

  • What can you do to bring yourself back to this moment?
  • What part of you has concerns about the future?
  • How might you acknowledge this part of you?
  • How might you comfort this part of you by the choices, steps and possibilities that are available in this moment?

The calming silence through stillness to create a tranquil inner world

Thoughts infuse the mind when we wake until we sleep.

Racing from one moment to the next.

Not taking the time to be in silence.

Not taking a moment to be still, and in presence.

What is in that moment of stillness and silence?

It is a space filled with propositions of inner connection. The inner connection aligns with the outer connection of life.

In that space of stillness and silence there is no constraint or resistance to time.

There is a flow of effortless tranquility.

All the judgements of “what isn’t” or “needs to be” vanishes.

A choice for peace, internally. Aligning with the thoughts and feelings within that peace.

Freedom resides in the silence of the stillness.

A deep knowing is accessed. It allows for listening. Listening to your inner voice.

The loud noises that cover up the inner voice dissipate.

Everything becomes silent. You are an observer in stillness.

Clarity is unmasked.

Open to see the vastness of peace.

 

Mindfulness benefits the experiences in your life

To be present in life requires mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being aware, paying attention without attachment by choice.

Choosing to be present in the moment.

A state of being where body and mind are in the same mental and physical place at the same time.

You place all focus on what you are doing, where you are, who you are being.

In that moment, thoughts of past or future don’t exist.

It is effortless to go through daily routines or just “go through the motions.”

Mindfulness would be to step outside that pattern and be aware of the actions, things you are thinking and doing throughout the day.

 

Being mindful in your day carries many benefits

It can reduce stress by having awareness of thoughts and emotions that are occurring in the moment and giving an opportunity to process them.

Situations are no longer just reactionary.

There is a choice to step into who you are being.

 

From my own personal experience, mindfulness has helped me with connection.

It helps bring me back to a neutral operating state.

Letting go of the worries, the doubts.

It is a place of focus and intention on the present.

It breaks moments down into observable pieces.

You notice things start to slow down.

Calm in the presence of stillness, reveals appreciation for all that is right now.

The anxiety of a racing mind and worried heart is not wrong. Maybe it is something you believe is wrong?

Anxiety Situation

Imagine you have a big presentation, an event or a speech in a few hours.

Maybe there are many “what-if’s” that begin to enter your mind.

Your imagination starts to take over and your heart is beating faster, trembling of nerves tense your body. You can’t think normally with clear thoughts.

You feel like you have already lost the confidence to do your best.

Trying so desperately to win a self made validation that isn’t real.

The misleading prize is assurance that the outcome will be what you want.

What if the outcome does not happen or questions arise about the possibilities that might prevent it from happening,? Worry and concern creep into the moment.

It is something we have all experienced in our life.

Anxiety and worry is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is part of our survival makeup.

Anxiety is something that becomes a constant background noise that is learned to cope with. It is not comfortable or enjoyable. It becomes something that is hard to turn off.

How can you accept worry and concern when it disrupts clarity of  how you would like to function in the moment?

There are ways to reduce the intensity, (possibly turn it off) to trust in who you are and what you are doing again.

First step is to stop, take a step back. Reassess the situation. Acknowledge the worry and question with curiosity the purpose of the worry and what can be done to alleviate the worry right now.

Breathe. Take deep, controlled breaths. Place your focus on the breath as you inhale and exhale. Pausing to hold between inhale and exhale.

Count to 10 slowly, and when you reach 10, say to yourself, “I am safe.” “I will be okay.”

Assure yourself you will get through this experience, and place gratitude that you are alive and get to have this experience.

Create a new meaning of failure. Whatever the outcome is, respect the things that make it successful regardless what the result is.

Releasing the shame surrounding anxiety is an available choice. The decision to let go of the idea, “I’m not good enough” because of experiencing anxiety or worry is powerful transformational acceptance.

Reframing the approach to a situation and acknowledging the present moment means you have already won the prize.