Being able to show gratitude, learn things and give ourselves the opportunity to forgive certain things not only often forms the basis for different philosophies and religions. These skills are also the key to good mental well-being. Things like ’emotional freedom’, for example, emphasize the need to feel free and not cling to negative emotions, to appreciate the person you are and to always keep learning and experiencing.
We are constantly subjected to this mental noise that keeps us from prioritizing the things that really matter. Anxiety, stress, or habits like delaying happiness until we “have, are or get such and such” keep us from seeing these dimensions, which should really form the basis of our daily melody.
That’s why we invite you today to take a moment to reflect on gratitude, forgiveness, and the ability to learn.
Forgiveness is good for the brain
Forgiveness is a brave act that we are not always able to perform. We often tend to equate forgiveness with surrender, when in fact it is a form of emotional release, where we are no longer captives of what harms us. Forgiveness is a way to break the chain of pain and close chapters.
Robert Alder, a pioneer in psychoneuroimmunology, explains that there is a close connection between our emotions and our health. So much so that holding on to anger, resentment or frustration can directly affect our immune system: we become more susceptible to disease.
Negative emotions mainly affect our autonomic nervous system, which regulates a large number of unconscious bodily functions. Resentment, like stress, can cause our bodies to produce more adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol by interfering with the functioning of body cells that are supposed to protect the body.
Forgiveness is the most beautiful act we can do for our health and emotional balance. It involves freeing ourselves from bitterness to open the doors to new possibilities.
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The ability to learn to adapt better
Learning does not involve gathering information and data or remembering certain things. Learning involves doing things to reinvent yourself as a person day in and day out, in order to adapt better to your environment. A person who has rigid thought patterns will never be able to see beyond his nose.
Learning involves discovering something new every day to improve yourself as a person, acknowledging your mistakes and trying to correct them, admitting that the approach of others can be just as good as your own.
Two studies were conducted at the University of La Rioja which showed that the more brain activity we develop over our lifetime, the better we will be able to confront old age and possible dementia.
Existence is a continuous learning experience that we should embrace with enthusiasm and mental and emotional openness. Learn something new every day just so you can mature, thrive and improve and approach that ideal person who is hiding inside you and eager to come out.
The virtue of being thankful
In 2003, Emmons and McCullough conducted a very interesting study in which a small group of people were asked to write down in a booklet every day for a few months what they were grateful for that day. In contrast, another group of people was asked to reflect on all the negative things they experienced during the day.
The results of this study were very telling: people who are able to be grateful and appreciate everything around them lead fuller and more fulfilling lives. In this case, it’s not just about the ability to recognize the things others do for us. The art of gratitude also involves being able to view ourselves in a positive way.
Appreciation also has a positive effect on our brains: feelings of stress and anxiety decrease, our sleep quality improves and the risk of depression is even reduced.
Showing gratitude means appreciating what we have and who we are. We initiate a virtuous circle in which we set aside negative emotions and allow ourselves to be more receptive to the simplicity of our environment and our personal relationships.
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