Sometimes it feels like we live in a world where we walk around saying we are Grateful because we are “supposed to be” Grateful. It almost feels like a conditioned response that just comes out, when deep down there is no feeling behind it. Have you felt the difference between saying you are Grateful and actually feeling it?
I remember back in 2018, I was at an intense low point in my motherhood journey. My youngest had reflux and was so uncomfortable and couldn’t settle unless she was being held by me. It was an extremely intense time in my life and it consumed me. The feeling of overwhelm overflowed into every area of my life and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath most days. I was exhausted and had become a shell of myself. I remember sharing with my husband one day when he came home everything that went wrong that day. I was sad and truly just felt pulled down by life. I remember Matt looked at me and said “maybe you should try being grateful.” In the moment that comment stung really bad. I was trying so hard to be a good mom, a good wife, show up in the world, and still hold on to a bit of myself. So hearing those words it was really hard to swallow. I thought to myself “ I am Grateful, I tell people I am grateful all the time! How am I not grateful and why would he think that?” I had gotten to this point where all I could see was what was going wrong and Matt was right. I knew that there was so much good going on in my life, my spouse, two healthy babies, a warm and safe home, but I couldn’t figure out how to feel anything but heaviness and I didn’t think that there was anything I could do to help change that.
Matt’s comment stuck with me. First I had to work through the anger (you know, its easier to blame the messenger some days!), and after that it made me think and I knew I had to make a choice. I wanted to FEEL and see the good again and not be consumed by the intense moments. I knew they wouldn’t go away (because let’s be honest motherhood is a lifelong journey of some intense moments!) I just didn’t want to look up ten years from now, when me kids aren’t babies anymore and feel like I missed such a special moment in time. So I decided I wasn’t going to just say I was grateful, I was going to get intentional about feeling it every day. The shift in saying I was Grateful, to taking intentional steps to focus on all that I have to be grateful for was a defining moment in my life. Since experiencing that shift I have been blown away by the science that explains the physical change happening. Did you know that when you express gratitude it impacts neurotransmitters in your brain?
When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside (Psyhology today).
So the next time you find yourself telling someone that you are grateful see if you can remember to ask yourself “do I actually feel grateful or does this feel like an automatic response?”
There is a huge difference (both internally in us and externally in how it is perceived) in saying you are grateful vs feeling grateful- and you deserve to feel it.
Do you need a Starting Point?
If you want to feel gratitude in your life but don’t know where to start- that is why The Motion of Gratitude was created. As someone who needed to get intentional about Gratitude and wanted a process to do it, we have created The Experience to be a 28 Day guided starting point to help you develop those intentional practices. If you want to learn more, check out the details here! We would love to support you on your journey.