When you feel triggered in a negative way, what do you normally do?
If you’re like a lot of people, you probably go into fight-or-flight thinking—that is, you get aggressive or defensive.
However, research shows that tapping into a mindset of appreciation is a powerful way to help ourselves pull through a difficult emotional situation. In fact, expressing gratitude may actually change the human brain, helping to increase well-being and reduce depression.
It makes sense. When we start to appreciate the world around us, our perspective becomes clearer and more well-balanced with reality. When we realize and recognize the things and people around us, we are often better able to focus our thinking.
Here are three ways to tap into gratitude.
Instead of reverting to black-and-white thinking, try this the next time you’re faced with a negative emotional experience.
Create an “appreciation anchor”—a memory that you are incredibly connected to. For me, one anchor is sitting on my deck at the cottage, looking over the beautiful valley of Sandy Cove. It is one of those small moments of the year where it feels like everything is good. This isn’t the only anchor, but one I can recall very easily.
So, whenever I’m facing a negative emotional experience, I tap into one of my anchors to re-engage my whole brain in the task/conversation at hand.
The result: I immediately feel grateful and more positive about the situation I am dealing with—and I can react in a more practical, energized and human way.
At Juice, feeling, sharing, and showing gratitude has become part of our overall organizational culture.
When we bring our team together, we build in time to discuss what we are grateful for—we call it our “time for appreciation.” The source of gratitude does not have to be business-related; sometimes it’s personal. And sometimes, it’s both.
This activity creates a lovely bonding experience, allowing colleagues to learn what’s really important to each other. And oftentimes, it makes our world a bit brighter.
In fact, I’ve also discovered just how measurable a difference this activity can make. When issues and tensions pop up in the workplace, we can move through them relatively quickly. Why? Because people are constantly in a good state of flow and mind.
Brady Wilson, co-founder of Juice and author of Beyond Engagement, offers this simple daily meditation exercise to help you tap into appreciation.
Done frequently, this activity can literally change your brain chemistry, releasing a surge of feel-good hormones that can have a significant impact on your ability to be productive, effective and innovative.
Moreover, tapping into gratitude through meditation can help you train your brain to suppress and better control unwanted feelings, and shift more easily into goal-oriented behaviors.
Thank you for your attention!
Make no mistake: showing and feeling appreciation is a healthy self-perpetuating alternative to the usual fight-or-flight reaction.
How so? Because the more you practice gratitude, the easier it is to naturally turn towards it in negative emotional situations—and the more you can enjoy its psychological and social benefits.
Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author
Co-Founder of Juice Inc.
Vice President, Business Development
Business Development, Juice USA
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