• Tara Leyden

Creating balance between the 'good' and the 'not so good'

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Ever since the beginning of human existence, we have focused primarily on negative experiences, luckily this was for the benefit of our survival. Can you imagine if we had been stood in front of a tiger that's ready to pounce on us, looking at the positives…

It's so cute!

I want to give it a big cuddle!

Wow, what amazing stripes!

I’m laughing at the thought, but the truth is we would have become its next meal!!!😲

These days we are not running from the tiger, but we all endure other challenges that cause us stress. The trouble is our brain does not recognise the difference between the threat of a tiger and modern-day stress…like moving home. The difference is, that a lot of our modern stresses can be long term, whereas the threat of a tiger would have been a short term experience...

We were either eaten (stress over immediately!)😊, or we escaped (stress over relatively quickly!)😊😊.

Unfortunately for us, our modern-day longer endured stresses can cause many physical and mental ailments.

Like anything in life, there needs to be a balance. We have 'good' experiences in life; we also have 'not so good' experiences. The trouble is because of our survival instinct, we can find ourselves focusing more on the 'not so good' things; if we are not careful all the 'good' things that happen in our day, can easily be forgotten.

This is where gratitude can really help us. Gratitude meditation is a great way to help re-set those scales!! It can train and rewire the brain to focus on more of our positive experiences. It only needs to take 5 minutes a day to think of all the things you are grateful for, though as you get better at this, I can guarantee 5 minutes won't be nearly enough, as you will realise life is constantly throwing so many blessings at you!

A Gratitude Mantra Meditation, is a great way to help us notice more of the good in life-

A mantra is a word or phrase, it is either repeated in your mind or said out loud.

  • Set a timer for 5-20 minutes, quiet background music if it helps, sit comfortably and for a moment, focus on your breathing.

  • When you are ready, you begin the mantra, “I am grateful for________” (You fill in the blank).

  • Repeat the mantra slowly and meaningfully 3 times, before moving onto the next thing you are grateful for.

There are no set rules for this meditation, only that you focus on the words and the feelings of gratitude, and if your mind wanders off somewhere you bring it back to the mantra. You can repeat the mantra as many times as you like, you may also like to focus on just one thing that you feel grateful for.

If you're finding it difficult to think of anything to be grateful for, then start with your 'breath," I am grateful for my breath keeping me alive." Or look at your surroundings, maybe you are grateful for the chair you are sitting on, the warm sunny day, the flowers in the field. Then there's the kindness you may have received, the coffee you were bought, the friendly shop assistant, or the driver that let you out.

If it helps with your meditation before you begin, write down a list of all the things you are grateful for. You could even start a gratitude journal that you fill in at the end of each day. Journaling your blessings will reinforce your gratitude, it’s something I do, so that in time, I can look back at all the wonderful blessings that I have encountered over the years. I even write down the setbacks, as most often than not they have been blessing in disguise.

A few years ago I read, 'The Magic' by Rhonda Byrne. I recommend this book for the gratitude exercises it contains, I found it really beneficial to expand my gratitude even further.

Gratitude is powerful!

When we really notice those feelings of gratitude, stress reduces, our body becomes relaxed, our mind calm, an inner warmth fills our whole being and we radiate happiness into the world around us.

If you’re interested in practising a gratitude meditation with me and one that is “just for you”, then reach out to me for a 1 2 1.

I’d LOVE to help!💖


Mindful-What Science Reveals About Gratitude's Impact on the Brain

Mental Health Foundation-Stress Neuroscience of Breaking Out of Negative Thinking

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