I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful change of seasons. Here in the northern hemisphere, we have moved from winter into spring. This is a time when we should begin planting the seeds of what we would like to manifest in the next few seasons. The summer season is a time to grow and nurture our gardens as well as ourselves. But there will be nothing to grow and nurture if we have not planted our seeds.
Seeds are intentions that we would like to see come into fruition.
Yes, this is all a metaphorical approach to our lives. Our minds need something to focus on while our hearts are opening to the possibilities that await us if we are open to receiving them. Last month’s meditation class was on loving-kindness. During this class, I talked about the importance of self, self-care, self-awareness, and self-love. Once we open to loving ourselves, we have an opportunity to share this growing love with the world around us.
As I think of this, I am reminded of my beautiful friend Susan Lynch who talks in her book, Life After Kevin, about the ripple effect her son Kevin had In the world by creating love and understanding which had a ripple effect on the people he met out in the world. This ripple is created by our choices, our moods, and our actions.
By feeling better about yourself and seeing the positivity of situations your energy changes for the better and this ripples out to those around us. Then that ripples out around them and so on and so on (I am laughing as I think about the shampoo commercial from my childhood…you tell two friends, and they tell two friends and so on and so on).
There are ways in which we can create a positive view of our lives. By expressing gratitude and cultivating it in our lives we are able to increase our happiness, improve our physical health, all leading to a greater mental wellbeing and higher self-esteem which in turn leads to life satisfaction.
Attitude of Gratitude
A gratitude journal helps us to focus on these positive aspects of our lives. If we do not acknowledge these aspects, they can be lost in the hustle and bustle of our days. Simply allocate 5 minutes a day for a large impact (10% increase in your happiness). When beginning this journal writing try to be consistent in order to create the habit of journaling. Set aside 5 minutes at the same time every day. Put a reminder on your phone or ask Alexa to remind you.
Create this gratitude journal using some of these prompts to get you started:
- List the qualities of people you admire.
- Name 5 things that made you smile today.
- Reflect on why these things made you smile, and what emotion did it stir in you.
- Name 3 good deeds you can do in the next week for others (try not to make them all money oriented.
- Name some of your favorite things in your neighborhood or town
You can also cultivate this happiness by expressing your gratitude by writing (yes handwriting) letters. Here is an article on the neural benefit of the physical act of handwriting: The science geek in me loves this information, but it makes me worry for the younger generations who barely ever write (physically writing is very different from “writing” using a computer just as creative but not the same physical benefits for our brain).
According to Nicholas Clausen
Director at Summit Reading Center (2009–present) Digital vs. Analog.
“Our fingers are digits, and just using the tip of them to produce a letter with a keyboard is a very simplistic process. Press button for correct sound to represent.
One the other hand, writing with a pencil requires training to hold said pencil, training to refine use of the pencil to make circles, curves, and lines. This requires time, integration, and practice. It also requires multiple brain regions to be activated at once: occipital lobe, letter form area, motor control regions. All the while, meaning and auditory connections are being used to assist the complex process. This is a sensory rich process. Since our senses are what make up our memories, the analog practice of scratching marks on paper makes for deeper learning potential.
So, there are two skills, one very simple, one exponentially more complex.
The press of a button cannot be the foundation on which one learns to write. Brain activation is too shallow.
Connections to the cognitive processes involved with the analog drawing out of letters are rich, integrated ones. Connections based on one press of a button cannot produce the same integrated, complete writing process.
Besides, it is proven that spelling practice in cursive is far better than printing or typing. It is because the brain loves connectedness! It loves a meaningful whole to grasp. With typing or printing, you are too focused on the pieces”.
So, let’s encourage writing letters to people who have made a difference in our lives. Another novel idea is writing letters to ourselves. Our young selves, our future selves, and our selves of today. Let all of yourselves know how much you have learned from them the lessons of the past that have taught you how to be strong in the face of adversity, how to be humble in the face of great success.
Below find a couple of articles that talk about the benefits of physically putting pen to paper:
Three Ways That Handwriting With A Pen Positively Affects Your Brain | by Nancy Olson | Contributing Writer at Forbes.com
How Writing Affects Your Brain, According to Science | by Kristina Segarra | The Writing Cooperative
So, as we enter the spring and summer seasons let us remember that we too are cultivating, growing, nurturing and harvesting parts of ourselves that we love and want to share with the world. Here at Positive Vybes we are all about helping you to remember how kind and beautiful we all are on a soul level.