‘Today is not just another day in your life. It is a gift that is given to you, and the only appropriate response, is GRATEFULNESS… If you receive this day as if its your first day of our life and the very last day – then you will have spent this day very well‘
Cultivating gratitude. It’s a practice. A practice that sometimes is hard to grasp. How do we grasp, “the now”? How do we embrace “the present”? Sometimes it is starting with the most basic gifts: that you opened your eyes this morning, that you can see or hear or touch or taste. That you can embrace someone in need, and be embraced if you are weak.
We live in a world of RUSH. A world of multi-tasking, a world that demands our attention in multi-directions more than ever. Today, many are not even present when walking down the street, or sharing time with other people because we are on our phones: responding to ‘that’ email, posting on social media or in some way…distracted.
Our ‘now’ has become fragmented into streaming moments of distraction. Our hyper stressed and ever demanding state affects every aspect of our lives – starting with our health. Stress calls upon our adrenal glands to produce stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which help us survive in times of need. It is a natural and uncontrollable response from our sympathetic nervous system.
Our body doesn’t know if we are facing a grizzly bear fighting for life or if we just missed our train and will be late for work. It simply knows that we are experiencing stress and in turn, releases stress hormones. When we live in this stress, either emotional or physical, we cause these hormones to hyper-activate. When stress remains a constant in our lives, the body will begin to crave and depend upon fake energy sources to stay stimulated – or worse, simply feel awake.
Overtime, elevated cortisol levels can affect every body system including your thyroid and adrenal glands. Extended levels of high cortisol contributes to pre-mature aging, sleep issues, digestive and hormone imbalance.
Imbalanced cortisol levels can:
- cause blood sugar imbalances
- suppress thyroid function
- increase fat in the belly area
- cause exhaustion
- increase inflammation and lower immune function
The antidote to this ‘stressed state’ is to activate and enhance the parasympathetic nervous system, which works antagonistically to stress and is responsible for the stimulation of calm. It is the “rest-and-digest” or “feed and breed” response. Basically, the physiological opposite of stress – and we can create the environments which stimulate this autonomous response through our thoughts and through meditative and calming practices.
In today’s hyper stimulated world, we need to practice putting our body into a calm and restful place to promote this response. While you may not (yet) have mastered the art of meditation or yoga, watching this 9:56 of video you will feel that calming response. And even if you don’t feel the physical calm, trust me – your body will thank you. This video clip is a medicinal visual!
I consider myself someone of a ‘present’ person, but this is the kind of video that stopped me in my tracks. I hope it does for you what it did for me: shift your perspective (in an instant) to appreciate the everyday “non-eventful” moments. It is these everyday moments that are everything.
When we see ourselves in nature, we are reminded that we are one. Nature is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.When we have gratitude for life, and for this very moment, it can suspend all negative thought. Calming moments like the ones captured in this video, remind us what matters most and on a deep cellular level rejuvenate the body and the mind.
Open your heart to the incredible gift of NOW.