Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on a mindfulness practice like a walk in nature, yoga, knitting or meditation, the more grateful you feel for the things around you? This is no coincidence.
The neural pathways between mindfulness, gratitude and generosity are very strong, which makes sense when you think about it. When you engage in mindful activities you gain an enhanced ability to see clearly and focus. When you choose to take that mental energy and focus on gratitude you may feel more apt to give to someone else. It can be a domino effect.
Gratitude is appreciation for what one receives, either tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people pay attention to the goodness in their lives. Through this process, people can recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. Because of this, gratitude helps individuals connect to something larger than themselves as individuals, whether to relationships with others, nature, or a higher power. This can translate to a richer life with more joy and happiness.
Many think gratefulness is all about the receiver. Gratitude makes the receiver feel better. In the world of self-help, we hear that gratitude is one of the most important parts of leading a successful and happy life. Research does support this to a certain degree.
People who actively practice gratitude report fewer illnesses, more optimism, less stress, and a more balanced mood. It makes sense that when you feel better, you do better. There’s also the idea that while feeling grateful for what we have, we are compelled to pay it forward. You want others to feel grateful too because it feels right. Emotions can be contagious and by channeling your gratitude into altruism you’re doubling its effects.
It’s exciting to know we can compound feelings of gratitude and the desire to give. It’s one reason the Giving Tuesday campaign, started in 2012, has been so wildly popular.
According to their website, Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to contribute to their communities and their world.
Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea. It’s a day that encourages people to give back. This idea has grown into a global movement that inspires millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
While marketing and social media development have played a big role in Giving Tuesday’s growth, it can’t be denied that the warm and fuzzy feelings people feel when they give and receive a donation can spread quickly. This is a good thing!
By teaching ourselves and our children to gently pay attention to the small things they are grateful for, such as comfortable shoes, their dog, or a warm bath, you are instilling in them a new way to look at the world. It’s a way of life that’s better for them, for others, and ultimately it’s better for our planet.
Mindfulness breeds gratitude which breeds generosity. Our brain was designed this way to ensure the spread of love and joy; at least it sure seems that way. Happy Minding and may you give the gift of gratitude through your mindfulness practice!