Sunday, March 1, 2020

Virtue development - Part Two, Gratitude and Joy

Part two
Gratitude and joy come from reflection

The virtue of gratitude and the resulting joy takes practice. Every day we should end the day before sleep thinking of three good things which happened to us during that day that we are thankful for. It is the practice of “smelling the roses” and taking time and effort to reflect on that which gives our life joy, comfort, and peace.

Did meeting a person and having a moment of connection provide a blessed moment today? Did some act of kindness given or received make your day? Did you experience a moment of beauty, goodness, truth that strike you as having been a thing of grace and blessing?

We are so focused on the negative because our primal brain, based in our amygdala, is so attuned to threat that we biologically respond with the fight- flight- freeze response until the prefrontal cortex kicks in and we are able to get things in perspective and figure out how to purposely and deliberately respond.

Gratitude comes from the prefrontal cortex, the thinking mind, where executive functioning takes place, not from the amygdala where the instinctual fight-flight-freeze occurs. This is why gratitude is a skill which must be practiced and pursued, and the resulting peace and joy are well worth the effort.

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