Let me begin by explaining; I’m not necessarily saying that I believe in magic! But I do want to draw your attention to a much researched and proven occurrence.
When we focus on the good, we receive more of it.
I’m talking about gratitude. And this is not just something that life coaches believe, there is actually a great deal of psychological research on this.
In his book, The Fortune Factor, Professor Richard Wiseman shares results from his own studies which confirm that people effectively ‘make their own fortune’. And what it all boils down to is where somebody focuses his or her attention.
You might wonder what the term ‘gratitude’ really means? I’ve heard some people define it as appreciating all the good things in the world, or being thankful for what they do have. And that’s a good place to start. But I believe there is more to it.
For me, gratitude is a daily practice, perhaps a little like a prayer. It’s about choosing to see the good in things and having a positive attitude. When you start focusing on this daily, your world starts to change around you. It really can feel as though you are creating your own destiny.
Here’s the science!
We know from cognitive psychology research that the brain can’t attend to everything going on in the world around us. With the exception of spotting sudden danger, our brain focuses on what we have primed it to focus on.
A really simple example of this is when you have your heart set on a particular model of car. Once you have set yourself that goal, suddenly you seem to notice that exact car everywhere you go.
It might seem a little spooky that suddenly everybody is driving your dream car. But of course, that’s not really what’s going in. Nothing changed ‘out there’ in the world; the change was in your brain. You are primed to notice that car more, and so notice it more you do.
This phenomenon is known by psychologists as ‘reticular activation’, named after the tiny part of the brain stem implicated in this focused attention. For a tiny part of the brain stem, it sure has a powerful effect on us!
So where do good fortune and gratitude come in?
Thanks to our reticular activating system, we see more of what we are focused on. So if we set our intention everyday to be positive and grateful, always seeing the best in things, how do you think that manifests for us? Right! And this is exactly where the feeling of creating our own destiny comes from.
But the process doesn’t end in our minds; it carries across to the outside world too. While our brains are busy creating our own destiny, our positive disposition is allowing us to engage more with new situations. We meet new people, perform better at that job interview, we have more fun on that first date…. The possibilities are endless!
Some tools to help you get started.
So let’s talk about making this work for you. My favorite tool is my gratitude journal. And lots of people love this one!
The physical act of writing down something you are grateful for every morning starts your day off on the right foot, and really primes your brain for a good day.
Popular personal development writer, Brendon Burchard, recommends setting a gratitude alarm on your phone that goes off three times a day! You might prefer to start with once per day and try building it up, so it’s not too much all at once.
Or how about a daily walk? We know that gentle exercise release those ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, so that should help you with feeling grateful. Get outside, stretch your legs and take in some nature. It’s good for your soul!
If you would like to talk with me one-on-one about shifting your mindset to a more grateful and positive one, then reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to help you on your way to creating your own destiny.