REFLECTION: "AN ANTIDOTE TO DISSATISFACTION" BY KURZGESAGT
A friend of mine recently shared this YouTube short with me. She knows me and my love of gratitude practices quite well, and accurately predicted that I would enjoy this. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with you!
This little animation talks beautifully about gratitude, and just how this emotion-experience moves through us to transform our experience of the world. It’s quite amazing how it works!
Gratitude is not just one thing. Unlike most emotions, gratitude is also a trait, a feeling, an a behavior. It’s also been identified as virtue! When we feel gratitude, we feel other emotions as well: happiness, love, and even vulnerability.
Gratitude is also a skill. It’s something we can learn and intentionally increase in our lives. It’s a really powerful tool to have in our emotional toolbox! You might wonder why. What exactly is it about gratitude that makes it so powerful?
When we engage in behaviors that cultivate a feeling state of gratitude we are fostering feelings of connection. Its an emotion that actively occurs in the space between us and an Other (person, animal, nature, experience, etc.). When we are in that emotional state, we experience a bump in the neurotransmitters that help us form connections and experience belonging. That’s pretty cool!
There’s more to it than that, though! When we are experiencing gratitude, we are also shifting the neural pathways in our brains. The reward centers in the brain are stimulated, which increases our ability to recall positive memories. Pretty cool!
When we are practicing gratitude regularly, these shifts in our internal wiring start to shift the way we see the world. We start to experience more happiness, less loneliness, and greater resiliency to stress and even trauma!
With all of the unrealistic expectations we are shown daily about life (social media news feeds, advertising telling us that we’re not as happy as others, etc.), practicing gratitude can become a form of deep self-care. It helps us see our lives more clearly and shifts us out of a scarcity mindset and allows us to see the abundance that is really there. It allows us to connect with other and with the world in a meaningful way, leaving us feeling just a bit happier than we were before.
What I love about this little video is that while it highlights the history of gratitude, how it developed in us as a species, and the myriad benefits it offers us, the video also reminds us that gratitude is not a magic pill. It’s not a miracle solution to all of our problems. It is, however, an active practice that creates subtle shifts in our neurophysiology that compound over time. The more we practice, the more we experience its benefits.
There is an empowering message here: Our emotions are not fixed. We have the ability to change how we feel on a daily basis. We have the ability to change how we think and how we perceive.
How you experience life is a representation of what you believe about it, and the practice of intentionally choosing to foster feelings of gratitude creates ripples of positive change in all areas of our well-being. It is through the practice of self-reflection and gratitude that we can change the neural pathways in our brain and move us way from dissatisfaction.
You can check out the animated video here. It’s runs about 10 minutes and is beautifully narrated by a man with a lovely British accent.