Gratitude – The Mindset Series

14 September, 2021

We’re back with post number two of The Mindset Series,  this time we’re going to be looking at gratitude and manifesting. Two practices that focus on your mindset and have some astounding benefits on your mental health. Read on to find out how they may benefit you.

 

Gratitude

 

Gratitude is a wonderful practise that can be added so easily to your daily routine, with some incredible benefits.

The aim of practicing gratitude is sort of in the title; it’s the act of noticing and being grateful for the things in your life, whether they’re big or small. In time this can bring a whole range of benefits to your wellbeing.

“In positive psychology, gratitude is the human way of acknowledging the good things of life. Psychologists have defined gratitude as a positive emotional response that we perceive on giving or receiving a benefit from someone (Emmons & McCullough, 2004).”

Practising gratitude is one of the first things that Katie Stibbs (Head of Self Development, ICTheatre Brighton) introduced to us while studying at ICTheatre, and I very quickly realised the benefits of doing something so simple.

Showing gratitude for the things or people around us actively encourages positive emotions, it is nearly impossible to feel negative emotions while feeling grateful. Meaning this in itself can improve your mental wellbeing, by making you feel happier.

You don’t have to simply take my word for it either. Psychological studies have shown that the regular practice of gratitude has countless positive benefits.

“When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions”

“and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.

“By consciously using gratitude daily, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves.” (quotes from Positive Psychology, found here)

Alongside this, it has been found that practising gratitude regularly can release toxic emotions, reduce pain, improve sleep quality, aid how you manage stress and reduce anxiety.

Similarly to meditation – if you can get such positive results from such a simple practice, why wouldn’t you give it a go?

 

Journalling

 

One of the most common and easiest ways to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, in which you can simply write down a list of things you’re grateful for.

This can start with the simple things – your family, friends, home, health etc. But the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to dig deeper than those seemingly ‘obvious’ things. You may then notice the gratitude you feel for life events, personal attributes, valued people and for the ‘little things’.

Doing this at least three times a week will start to encourage your brain to regularly make these grateful observations until you’re subconsciously noticing the good every day, which is constantly firing those happy emotions and improving your overall quality of life.

I’ve noticed that practising gratitude has had benefits in many areas of my life. As a human being, it has done many of those things I mentioned above, such as helping to relieve stress and toxic emotions.

I am actively searching for the good in every day, meaning overall I’m having more good days and fewer bad days. When the bad days do come along, it’s easier to manage my emotions and acknowledge that it is just a bad day, the good will come back.

As an actor, I’ve found myself noticing more about the world around me; the beauty of nature that I may have previously missed, the kindness in how others interact with each other.

In searching for the good, I’m noticing everything else along the way – and as an actor, that’s pretty important when it comes to building character and believable stories.

 

Manifesting

 

Manifesting is  a way of thought and outlook on life that genuinely helps people realise their goals and meet their potential. In 2006, Rhonda Byrne’s book ‘The Secret’ was released which introduced the method of manifesting to the wider world.

The Secret made it a practice more commonly used in our society. If you’re looking for an in-depth explanation as to how this all works, ‘The Secret’ is probably the place to start.

The basis of ‘The Secret’ is that by asking the universe for the things you desire, they will come into being. I know, it does all sound a bit crazy – I didn’t really get it when I first learnt about it. But if you unpack it and explore the theory behind it, you may find a new approach to achieving your goals that can genuinely change your life.

 

“Ask, Believe, Receive”

 

That is how you’re going to make these things happen, by using your gratitude to bring the law of attraction into your life and manifesting your goals into being.

Let’s unpack that a bit. ‘The Secret’ states that if you ask the universe for the things you desire – whether that be a dream job, a better car, a certain relationship – if you believe the work is done and you are deserving of these things, then you will receive these things into your life.

While that in itself sounds like ‘magic’, the change of mindset can lead to a more positive outlook that inspires action towards achieving these goals. It’s in realising the positive effects of that mindset that persuaded me to think there was some truth behind the theory of ‘The Secret’.

In knowing what you want, and in focusing on these goals or desires, you consciously direct your brain to find the way to these things; whether that’s inspiring the action needed to land a new job, or finding the saving technique that makes it possible to buy a new car, or opening yourself to the possibility of meeting new people.

Manifesting isn’t about passively receiving everything you could ever want, it’s more about finding a fantastic mindset that opens you up to achieving what you desire. So that one day you turn around and realise you’re surrounded by the things you used to spend hours dreaming about.

 

Practice

 

So how do you put Manifesting into practice? As with gratitude, it can be very simple,  you can use a whole range of techniques to get you going.

One of the first I learnt is making a vision board of the things you want. Find pictures of the things you wish to gain or that represent things you want to achieve, collect them on a vision board that you keep somewhere you can see every day.

By seeing your board regularly, you are always thinking about what you want and reminding your brain to get there. Practising a Manifesting Meditation can have the same effect.

Visualising clearly how you would feel when you achieve certain things can insight the action within yourself to make that dream a reality. You’re noticing a pattern, right? Website Thrive Global has loads of techniques you can use to up your manifestation game – you can read them here.

This is a very brief overview of the world of manifesting, there are so many books and resources you can use to further your knowledge in this area. ‘The Secret’ would be my first recommendation to start, but there are also books such as ‘The Power Of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, ‘The Power Of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale and ‘The Attractor Factor’ by Joe Vitale to name a few.

I mentioned a Manifestation Meditation earlier – a quick 10-minute one I like to use can be found on Youtube here. I’ll also leave some links below if you fancy doing some more reading.

I know manifesting can be a lot to wrap your head around – believe me, it took a long time to come around to it! But I do believe that if you find a way to embrace it that works for you, you’ll receive some incredible results.

Gratitude can only encourage positivity and happiness in your life, so why wouldn’t you give it a go? Take what resonates and leave the rest – just make sure you’re always working towards your best version of yourself.

 

Useful Links

The Neuroscience of Gratitude
Science and Gratitude 
The Law of Attraction: Guide to Manifesting
Oprah on Manifestation
The Secret on The Law of Attraction

 


 

Author: Charley Morgan, ICTheatre Graduate 2020

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Institute for Contemporary Theatre