How to Best Spend 60 Seconds

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"People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have."

Glass Clock

- Richard Carlson, PhD

When we take a few moments to express our appreciation inwardly or to another, immediately we begin to feel happier, more relaxed, more optimistic.

A sense of appreciation is an important part of a positive outlook, and research indicates that a positive attitude is essential to the success of peak performers in both the business and sports worlds.

Studies also provide evidence that a positive, appreciative attitude enhances the body’s healing system and general health.

So, from time to time spend some seconds and ask yourself the following question:

"What’s one thing I’m grateful for?"

When you ask yourself that simple question, you see your cup as half-full. Anything else would be icing on the cake.

And instead of focusing on the I-have-to’s, the question drives you to embrace the super-sexy-sweetness of your life.

What are the psychological benefits?

Scientists at the Institute of HeartMath have discovered that thoughts and even subtle emotions influence the functioning of the autonomic nervous system.

This is significant in that the autonomic nervous system interacts with the digestive, cardiovascular, immune, and hormonal systems. Negative thoughts and emotions tend to create autonomic nervous system imbalance while positive ones encourage physiological balance and strength.

Interestingly, of the numerous positive thought patterns tested by the Institute of HeartMath, appreciation appears to have a particularly b effect in quickly enhancing the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, resulting in improved hormonal and immune system balance and more effective brain functioning.

HeartMath researchers also have discovered that when an individual engages in thoughts of appreciation, almost immediately his or her heart rate variability smoothes out, indicating heightened psycho physiological coherence - a state associated with reduced stress, increased emotional stability, high performance, and a range of health benefits.

The cool side-effects?

Physician and author Christiane Northrup explains that when you hold feelings of thankfulness for at least 40 to 60 seconds, beneficial physiological changes take place in your body.

Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine decrease, producing a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes. Coronary arteries relax, thus increasing the blood supply to your heart. And your breathing becomes deeper, raising the oxygen level of your tissues.

And when you think of one thing that makes you thankful, another one pops up. And another, and another, and another - until you fully appreciate what a sweet life you really have.

So, the template to get you started is:

"I’m thankful for this ____"

It will take you less than 60 seconds to complete this task. Try it out for yourself. And remember, gratitude is the best approach to life.

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