My journey into gratitude started in November 2016 when I was really struggling with a whole bunch of complicated situations in my life, which had left me feeling very disappointed and generally completely overwhelmed.
Ever felt like that? Not a great deal of fun!
I remember waking up one morning and looking out my window and realizing just how hopeless I felt. I rolled over, pull the covers over my head trying to push the negative and overwhelming thoughts away.
Later that morning, once I had finally forced myself to get up, I noticed, on my Facebook feed a link to a post about the new science of gratitude. The word ‘science’ caught my attention and I opened the link to find some amazing insights from Professor Robert Emmons.
He showed me, through his research, how gratitude can change how I feel about myself and my world and how it can relive the pressure of the complications I am facing each day. His research suggested if I practice gratitude each day, I would feel better about myself and my environment, sleep better, experience a deeper sense of joy and pleasure and feel more connected to my friends and family because of the wellness that was going to be created deep within me. And to really tweak my interest, gratitude could improve my immune system and my physical energy levels would shift and improve. As you can imagine this caught my interest and I researched as much as I could about this new science of gratitude.
It was on this day that I started practising gratitude and I have never looked back.
The deeper I research the more I realised how important gratitude was in changing my life and the lives of those around me. I also realised how closely linked, the influence of gratitude was to the influence of play.
It was at that moment when the spotlight came on and blinded me! As I put together the concept of playing with gratitude. My curiosity suggested that if we connected incredible influences of play with the transformational change gratitude offers we might be able to affect brain architecture, physical well-being and mental wellness across the lifespan.
A year has passed and my health has been the best yet. I am less bothered by the craziness around me. And I am generally happier and find pleasure so much more easily than ever before. A coincidence for all these elements to come together all at the same time? In my opinion – I don’t think so! But I will leave the final word on that to you.
I shared my findings at a conference in Queensland in November 2016 and it was there that we launched the Playing with Gratitude Research Project. Since then we have 21 early learning communities getting involved with the project, with more coming on board every month. That’s over 500 teachers, 1500 families and 1700 children. Some of the results have been amazing so far. Children, teachers and families have been able to grow and flourish individually as well as helping their community thrive. We can be grateful to gratitude for working hard on our behalf.
Therefore, my invitation to you is to be courageous, be vulnerable and play with gratitude for a while and measure the wellness change in your life.
What do you think?