Gratitude Confession #4: White Space
We know the many benefits of a gratitude practice: more joy, more equanimity, more awareness, more empathy, and the list goes on. But did you know that being grateful actually changes the configuration of your brain? A regular practice has the ability to lower the rate that cortisol, your stress hormone, pummels your brain with alarm and to diminish the size of the amygdala, which is the fear center of your brain. What these neurological changes mean is you have a brain that isn’t so reactive; it isn’t scanning the landscape for a problem or a challenge; it has greater access to a calm, reasoned, and positive response to circumstances of your life. It seems like a good deal to me. Spend a few minutes in the morning making a list of the things that brought you pleasure, joy, or some sort of accomplishment the day before. And then, over a period of time, your mind becomes habituated to looking for beauty, joy, goodness. And as a result, you feel better. You feel more positive. You have greater access to your highest potential.
It’s such an easy practice, and it reaps so many benefits. What if we all had a regular and devoted practice of 5 minutes of gratitude in the morning? All of us: kids in school, colleagues at work; families around the breakfast table; lovers entwined in cool, morning sheets.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing my Gratitude Confessions. Last Saturday was a retreat day for me. No socializing, no media of any kind, no working, no urgency to do, have, or be something. Just wide-open white space and full-out equanimity. It was lovely.
So Gratitude Confession #4 is for the white space in my life. I define white space as those blocks on the calendar that have nothing in them. Just big chunks of whiteness. How about you? Do you need/want more white space in your life? If you can’t give yourself a full day to rest and restore, begin to identify short moments of quietude that you do have in the course of a normal day. Maybe time in the car between your house and the grocery store. Maybe the morning walk with the dog. Maybe that moment when you take the trash bin out to the curb, and you look up and see a radiant full moon glowing in the blackness. Moments of peace are always available, if we will only take the time to note them. You’ll begin so find more and more of those luscious spaces in your life as you become more skilled at seeing them. And then, once noted, add them to your TIA Journal. The TIA Method is a beautiful way to start your morning with an attitude of gratitude.
In September and October, I’ll be doing three workshops on the TIA Method, and I’d love to have you join me as I explain just what the TIA Method is and how it can benefit you in many areas of life. Check lezlielaws.com in a couple of weeks for all classes and events coming in the Fall.
But if you’re super eager to get started (and why wait?), come on over and purchase a journal from me personally. I have 500 of them in my garage!!! You’d be doing me a favor to take one away.