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Loving Thanks Ways to Slow Down and Be Grateful


s headlines swarm with reports of hurricanes, fires and shootings, crisis feels like a worldly theme. Our response can be fear–or love.

Fear keeps us frozen from constructive thinking. Love keeps us grounded in

good works, full of faith. As Lissa Rankin notes in this month’s Wise Words article, “Moving from Fear to Freedom,” fear can also manifest into physical pain. The good news is we don’t have to hold onto fear and can take steps to let it

go. The amygdala is our brain’s emotional center. Our thoughts filter through it and it then signals the rest of the body to fight, flee or freeze. Stress sends out toxic chemicals. In the presence of love, the amygdala is calm, so the body is relaxed. When I’m caught off guard, two thoughts used to pop up: “I can’t take one

more crisis!” and “What’s going to happen next?” The first step to releasing the fear and choosing another way to think and behave is to have self awareness of what is running through your mind. It all starts there. Once aware of our default thought patterns, we can find ways to stop them in their tracks. I’ve found that breathing deeply and using an eye movement technique works to re-direct the brain to a neutral place. It’s been a game-changer for me.

Here’s the sequence: Keep your head still and move only your eyes back and forth ten times–as if watching a tennis match. Then, keeping your head still, move your eyes to first look up to the ceiling and then down to the floor. Repeat ten times. Next, close your eyes, then open them and blink twice. Check in to see what you are feeling, and note your first thought. If it is a neutral thought, or no thought, that’s progress. If not, then the brain needs a little more help to redirect it to a calmer state; create wide circles with your eyes only, starting clockwise and then in counter-clockwise movements, ten times each. Now close your eyes, open them and blink twice. I bet you will notice a difference, perhaps a big one. Now notice your surroundings and think one loving thought. It will likely put

you in a place of gratitude. Feeling love is an expression of truth. Fear will be gone, the result of illusion, aka “False Expectations Appearing Real.” It is highly doable to choose love over fear.

Rankin notes that modern-day humans average more than fifty stress responses

a day, indicating we are way off track. When we are in a state of gratitude, say for a beautiful sunset, a stranger’s compliment, or a dear one’s embrace, we are bound to feel love, not fear. America’s special day of Thanksgiving reminds us to feel gratitude now and

always for all that we hold near and dear. May our overflowing hearts reach out to bless and be a blessing to others. Cherishing good,

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