My father was out of a job for 9 months when we were a young family with six children. Somehow, we survived. I actually have good memories of extra time with my dad exploring nature and doing art projects. That Christmas we pulled together gifts to give to a family that was in greater need. I will never forget going to their apartment and coming home truly appreciative for our home, food on the table and my hand-me-down clothes.
My mother frequently told us to “count our blessings.” When I worked as a nurse in large public and university hospitals, I counted my blessings daily as I witnessed how fragile health and life could be.
The daily practice of gratitude has been thoroughly studied and proven over and over to have positive benefits. Benefits include improvements in: emotional, physical, and mental health, social life and relationships and in career. With gratitude practice we become more giving, optimistic, and spiritually inclined.
The Heart Math Institute has found that combining a gratitude practice with a specific breathing technique that focuses on the heart creates coherence or harmony within the body, mind, and electromagnetic field.
The Heart Math system uses analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) as an indicator of coherence. Your heart’s rhythm changes based on your psychological and physical state. The biofeedback sensor, Inner Balance, allows you to see in real time what is happening with your HRV. When you are in a state of coherence, all the systems of the body-mind are working optimally. This leads to improved physical and mental health and emotional regulation.
Your heart’s electromagnetic field is felt by those around you, thus creating more harmony in your relationships.
The benefits they have documented for the last 25 years in over 400 independent research studies are impressive.
- Improved ability to focus
- Improved sleep
- Increased calm
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced fatigue
- Reduced depression
I recorded my own version of a Heart-Brain Coherence meditation. You can find it on Insight Timer or YouTube.
Gratitude practice is a gateway to learning to operate more and more from the heart center rather than just the thinking mind. The thinking mind when stressed can lead us astray, keeping us locked in a stress cycle which blocks creative ideas. A heart centered focus opens us up to compassion, our intuitive knowing, and improves our resilience.