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An Attitude of Gratitude: 3 Brain Tricks to Help You Get Through Anything

How my fight through chronic illness was won with self-taught and experienced neuroscience techniques.

Chantel Soumis Attitude of Gratitude Neuroplasticity
What do you do when life gives you lemons you don't want?

I push the quick-release button on my auto-injector and feel the needle pinch my thigh as it releases my dose of medicine, nearly kissing the other bruises painted on my legs.

But I’m so thankful for modern medicine and the faint promise of remission.

I fill a bowl up with peanut butter, bananas, and animal crackers for my son to snack on for breakfast, set it down on his play table, and head to wake him up. When I reach my son’s room, I hear the distant *CRASH* of the dish hitting the floor as my sneaky German Shepherd and Siberian Husky quickly clean up the mess they’ve created.

But I’m incredibly thankful to have more food in the pantry so my little guy doesn’t have to go hungry.

I park my car to drop my son off at his 4k program. My brain doesn’t effectively signal to lift my foot high enough and I trip over the curb, splitting my work nylons and peeling the skin off my hands as the backpack and keys fly into the air.

I’m thankful I can afford his education and wrap-around program so I can continue to reach for success and achieve my entrepreneurial dreams.

Our small town shut the highway completely down for road work again, causing congestion and a heavy queue of cars. The lady in the white SUV in front of me is on her second cigarette in ten minutes, anxiously flicking the ash out her window as it trails back in the wind to mine. The gentleman behind me is cursing and throwing wild, angry hand gestures at the back up of traffic, sure to be late for his commitment.

I remind myself to be thankful for my reliable transportation and a full tank of gasoline.

The clouds quickly pass in the gray sky above the fields of crops lining the country road, and a few raindrops drip on my windshield here and there.

I take a deep breath and remain thankful for a beautiful country view during this extended commute and the scent of fresh rain in the air.

The Attitude of Gratitude

What is it about the attitude of gratitude that keeps my smile and limitless ambition in check?

Is it because I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying health without painful treatments?

…gone weeks without food or income to fill our tummies?

…lost my vision in both eyes from severe optic neuritis that the gift to see even the ugliest of sights is pure magic?

…was unable to even get out of bed without falling for weeks during relapse?

…was unemployed and terrified that I would ever find a position that would accept my “disabilities?”

Neuroplasticity & Thought Reframing

Neuroplasticity changed my life. Understanding the power in thought-reframing was an absolute game-changer. When your mindset is strong, your overall wellness is likely to follow. Here’s a boiled-down version written by Debbie HamptonThe Best Brain Possible.

“Because of neuroplasticity, the scientifically proven ability of your experiences, behaviors, and thoughts to alter your brain, you are sculpting the physical form and function your brain every day with your life.

Most of the time, neuroplastic change happens unconsciously as a result of thought patterns and habitual behaviors we have as we go through our lives on autopilot. When living like this, letting your brain bully you and run the show, it can feel as if you have no control over your own mind or life. But the good news is that there are scientifically proven steps you can take to steer your mind and life… which permanently change your brain!”

There are four steps you can take to rewire your brain and transform each thought that crosses your mind into a positive growth opportunity. They include: 

  1. Re-label: Relabeling your thoughts consists of being extra aware of just what negativity you are letting into your mind.
  2. Reframe: Reframing the thought is similar to finding the silver lining, or a positive aspect of the negative thought.
  3. Refocus: Refocusing will allow you to remain positive and focused, expelling your energy in an effective, strategic manner.
  4. Revalue: Revaluing your thoughts will come almost habitually following the previous three steps as the result of a new thinking pattern.

“When you complete the first three steps regularly, the fourth step begins to happen almost automatically as the result of new thinking patterns. You begin to see thoughts, urges, and impulses for what they are: sensations caused by deceptive brain messages that don’t benefit you.”

The Importance of Meditation

I never imagined being the type of girl to sit down on a yoga mat and meditate with some essential oils diffusing in the background, yet here I am about to share how much this has aided my ability to transform my mindset. But when you check out the many studies that are conducted on the many benefits of meditation, it would be silly to write it off without experimentation.

According to the Healthline article 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation, you can experience…

  1. Reduced Stress
  2. Anxiety Control
  3. Better Emotional Health
  4. Enhanced Self Awareness
  5. Lengthened Attention Span
  6. Improved Memory
  7. Generate Kindness
  8. Combat Addiction
  9. Improved Sleep
  10. Controlled Pain
  11. Decreased Blood Pressure
  12. Clarity Anywhere

I remember my first experience with meditation when I was ten at an acting camp in the city… it was a body scan following our return from lunch to get us recentered and focused which was much needed for our little energetic bodies! The instructor had us lay down on our backs with our needs up, feet on the floor as he slowly led us through a breathing exercise and body scan. We began scanning our bodies at our toes, like they were being dipped into a warm gooey liquid, filling up our feet to our ankles, legs, knees, hips… I remember the visualization he led with, suggesting that our backs melt into the floor like butter on a hot skillet and my entire body had never felt so relaxed. My mind had never been so clear and present.

As a mother, wife, public speaker, entrepreneur, community builder, etc., I constantly have information looming in my brain. This information can be overwhelming and stressful but launching my day with a brief, 10-minute meditation, and ending my day with a 15-minute brain-cleansing exercise has been absolutely transformative in aiding the success of thought transformation.

Connecting Neurons

I’m certainly not a neuroscientist, but neuroscience has dramatically shifted my life and wellness. Not to mention the importance of a healthy balanced diet without sugar and preservatives, my health is finally within my own control. I certainly hope that my story and this information helps you take control of your wellness adventure.

What works for you? Make sure to share it in the comments too so we can grow and heal together!

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