Thank you, ladies (and also gentlemen) for being super supportive of this initiative. Today on the blog we have Ann (from AG Life Coach) talking about how a shift in your attitude can have long-lasting (read positive) effects on your overall health and immunity.
I am personally very touched by Ann’s insights, the first part of this article talks about what the positive side effects of gratitude in your life are and in the second part, she gives you simple techniques to incorporate gratitude in your daily life. I am going to be trying these, after reading the article, I am sure you will have some takeaways as well. Enjoy, and feel free to ask Qs in the comments section, we are here to help.
Here’s the thing. A lot of us, during this COVID-19 era, are living in a state of fight or flight, as if there was a tiger about to attack us and eat us for dinner. At least, that is how our brain is interpreting the current situation.
Unfortunately, when this happens, our body releases a cocktail of powerful hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, etc. This switches on our Sympathetic Nervous System (“survival mode”) and switches off our Parasympathetic Nervous System (our “rest and restore mode”). This is problematic and becomes a vicious circle unless we know how to break the cycle. Adopting an attitude of gratitude is one very powerful way that you can break this cycle and make sure your immune system is functioning at full capacity.
Gratitude eliminates stress
When we feel grateful, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin in the body. As a result, we have a positive physical and physiological response which calms us down, lowers blood pressure, helps us breathe more slowly and relaxes muscle tension in the body. This will support our immune system.
Gratitude improves sleep
It may seem obvious, but your body isn’t thinking about sleep when you’re trying to escape a tiger. Because your brain perceives the current situation as a threat and is producing hormones to help you survive, the quality of your sleep deteriorates. By being grateful daily and therefore reducing the stress hormones in your body, you will start to sleep a lot more deeply and restoratively. This will allow your immune system to function better.
Gratitude is a natural antidepressant
When you feel grateful, your relationships will improve. You will feel more loved and will be able to give love more easily. You will notice a lot more of the good in your life. The dopamine and serotonin produced by your brain will enhance your mood and your state. Research shows that happy people live on average 10 years longer than unhappy people. So let’s do what we can to feel more joyful and grateful.
Gratitude helps with anxiety
Again, by changing the hormone cocktail being released in your body, you will change how you feel physiologically. By noticing the good things in your life, you won’t notice the things that worry you as much as before. You will feel more serene and calm.
Gratitude boosts the immune system
When we are in the fight of flight mode, our natural inner pharmacy switches off until we have survived or escaped the current threat. By being grateful and changing the hormones flowing through our body, we switch on the “rest and restore” nervous system. As a result, our immune system can function normally and protect us from bacteria, viruses and other threats as it was naturally designed to do.
The more you practice gratefulness, the more your brain will start to do it automatically, without you even thinking about it. This is called neuroplasticity – your brain’s natural ability to rewire itself.
Here are some ideas to help you and your brain get started on this new life-enhancing pathway:
5 practical ways to develop gratitude in your life
- When you’ve just woken up in the morning, ask yourself: “What am I looking forward to today?” It can be big or small things. The idea here is to put your focus on things you are excited about as soon as you wake up.
- When you’re in bed and about to go to sleep, ask yourself: “What am I grateful for today?” Again, these things can be big or small. What you want is to be in a state of gratitude before drifting to sleep.
- Filter for the good news on social media and in the news. I also recommend reducing how much you expose yourself to the news and social media at this time.
- Write letters of thanks and gratitude to people you love. Kindness as been shown to be as powerful as gratitude to improve health and wellbeing. Why not join them together?
- Create a Happy Jar (with or without your kids): decorate a jam jar to make it look “joyful” (we use stickers and ribbons), put square pieces of paper inside. Each day, take one out, write the date and at least one thing that made you happy or that you’re proud of achieving that day. Fold it up and put it back in the jar. When you’re feeling down, you can empty out all the folded papers and read through them. This will remind you of happy moments and change how you’re feeling.
Ann is a Lightning Process® practitioner, life coach and Advanced Master NLP practitioner.
As a child, Ann suffered from anxiety and a lack of self-esteem and knows first-hand what that feels like. She was also an expat kid and had to learn to change cultures and adapt to each new one. These struggles continued into her adult life until Ann found the Lightning Process® which enabled her to take back control of her life and health and be the happy and confident woman, wife and mother she wanted to be. She now works with adults and children, coaching them and passing on the keys and tools to a thriving mental and physical wellness.
Ann works in the Canton of Vaud, near Geneva. She has now gone online and uses Zoom for her 1:1 sessions and to teach the Lightning Process® to small groups. She works either in French or in English.
Stay tuned for more resources, we have some great content lined up with experts in various fields – marketing gurus, coaches, wellness experts, chefs, and teachers to get you through this tough time. Stay safe and healthy! Make the most of your quarantine with My Swiss Story.