Blog reflections by Elizabeth Shoop, LPC
I learned something new yesterday from the Huberman Lab podcast. (Highly recommend, by the way.) The episode was about gratitude practice. I already know that gratitude is a powerful healing agent for the body and mind, a fact that is supported by scads of solid scientific research.
But here’s what I didn’t know…
The power of gratitude is not in “counting your blessings” or naming 20 things you’re grateful for this week. The real healing power, according to research, is in RECEIVING gratitude.
That’s out of my control. How can I practice gratitude consistently if I have to wait until someone else decides to tell me something they appreciate about me? I will unabashedly admit that appreciation is my rocket fuel; to know I’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life is what keeps me going. So, these findings didn’t surprise me at all, but I was left with the question, how?
Huberman went on to explain the power of STORY; a fundamental way we as humans hold the meaning of past or even imaginary scenarios. We all know a good story when we hear one, and we know that stories have the power to make us feel, to take us “right back” to a meaningful time.
This morning I went to a notebook on my desk labeled “Sacred Connections”, the repository where I keep records, content, information and feedback from the retreats I facilitate. At the last retreat, we offered the opportunity for attendees to express gratitude by placing note cards in envelopes throughout the weekend to capture a specific trait, act or example of how another person had impacted us positively.
I delved back into the envelope with my name on it. I am deeply moved and overwhelmed by the affirming words of these beautiful souls. But it didn’t stop with the words on the cards. I remembered the stories. They came back so easily, so vividly, refilling my tank with rocket fuel to continue the work.
Hopefully by now your brain is starting to search for a story or two that causes you to feel gratitude for another person. Don’t keep it to yourself, please share it with another person who will be blessed to hear how they’ve made a difference. It’s not just words or sentences. It’s a story that will bring healing and restoration to their mind, body and spirit.
It is medicine.
“Hey I was just thinking about you, and I remembered that time when… “
Let’s bring a wave of healing medicine to those around us today, and tomorrow, and as much as possible.