It's notoriously difficult to really 'feel' gratitude, even if we're theoretically being grateful in our heads. That's because this is the Energy Centre for feelings, and when this centre is out, we find it hard to truly feel anything - including gratitude!
This can swiftly become a vicious circle, but the following 'Inner Work' exercise called 'The go-without gratitude exercise', can help us to break the cycle of negativity, and start to fill us up with feelings of genuine gratitude, instead.
Deeper Need 2: Gratitude - The 'go without' gratitude exercise
One of the key reasons we're ungrateful (and also unhappy…) is because we take so many things in life for granted. Try the following simple exercise to 'resensitize' you to the many good things you constantly have in your life, every day.
Each day for a week (or if you're REALLY feeling ungrateful, a month) pick one thing a day to 'go without'.
For example, if you're used to buying a Starbucks a couple of times a day, or a bar of chocolate, that would make a great thing to 'go without'. Or maybe, you could take a cold shower instead of a hot one. If you regularly use a hairdryer, an electric toothbrush, a vacuum cleaner, a kettle, a toaster, a car, a cleaner - go without! Just for one day, and then see how much more grateful you feel that you have that item, or ability, or blessing, in your life the next day.
If you do this exercise regularly, you'll start to build a profound, tangible feeling of appreciation for all the wonderful gifts you already have in your life, and your sense of gratitude will deepen tremendously.
Impossible to feel depressed and grateful at the same time
Another thing to mention today that I’ll come back to in more detail later is that it’s impossible to feel depressed and grateful at the same time. That’s because the body uses the same chemical receptors, or biological ‘docking ports’ to pick up and respond to the chemicals that cause depression, or gratitude.
If depression is ‘docked’ already, than feeling gratitude is a uphill battle – and vice-versa. That’s why the more time we spend trying to be grateful, the less likely it is that we’ll fall into sadness and depression.
If you’re wondering what to do if you’re already feeling depressed, don’t worry! I’ll come back to this in the next post, and the good news is that there are few easy things you can do to dislodge depression and get gratitude flowing again.