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Think Again

Have you ever thought about what you are thinking about? 

I mean…really thought about it?

Are you thinking about how you nailed your last Zoom presentation?

Or are you focused on that weird interaction with your co-worker and replaying it over and over in your head?

Are you upbeat…looking toward the future with hope?

Or are you stressed out and worried…caught up in a whirlwind of negative thoughts that lay you flat out?

Here at ILG, we believe our thought life is a powerful way to be generous with ourselves and others. 

What we think about matters. 

Our Generosity Roadmap is teaching kids all over the country about how generous thoughts can change the way that you look at the world and interact with people. 

Generosity holds your mind in a place of gratitude and anchors you in empathy.

But guys, generous thoughts aren’t just for kids….

What is A Generous Mind?

How you think about yourself and others changes your point of view – no matter what age you are.

Being generous with your thoughts requires you to stop and assess the thoughts that fill your mind.

Maybe you made a snap judgment about the driver who cut you off on the freeway. (He could be racing to the ER because his two-year-old shoved a jelly bean up her nose.)

Or maybe you are a perfectionist (like me) and are super hard on yourself when you make a mistake. (Let’s take a deep breath and remember that there are exactly zero perfect people on the planet.)

When we are generous with our thoughts, 

we give people (ourselves included) the benefit of the doubt. 

We step into a place of empathy and choose to believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.

We also give folks grace in the moments that they fall short. 

The Best and the Worst 

You may not realize that the way that you think about things affects you on a cellular level.

Do you know what’s the worst? 

Negative thinking.

Did you know that prolonged negative thinking can actually diminish your ability to reason, think clearly, and make memories? (It’s a one-way ticket to memory loss.)

Gross. 

We need our brains to form all the beautiful memories they can, don’t we?

Stay right where you are, brain cells!

Do you know what is the best? 

Gratitude.

When you are generous, you turn the table on those negative thoughts and reshape the molecular structure of your brain.

All you have to do is remember what you are thankful for. 

A Grateful Brain

Ever heard the phrase “count your blessings?”

It just so happens that counting them can unleash a truckload of goodness in your brain and your life. 

I’m not even kidding.

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, expressing gratitude regularly unleashes neuroplasticity in the brain. 

Neuroplasticity is “the ability of the brain to form new connections and pathways and change how its circuits are wired.” 

The more grateful we are the more new connections we form in our brains. 

You are literally rewiring your brain with goodness. 

Gratitude makes us happier and healthier. 

Some of the amazing benefits are:

  • Less anxiety

  • Less depression

  • Less fatigue

  • Less inflammation

  • More sleep

  • More heart health

Let’s practice some generous thinking right now using our Generous Classroom journal prompt:

Name 3 things you are grateful for.

Okay. How do you feel?

How are those inflammation markers?

Is your heart beating with joy?

Are you feeling more relaxed?

Great!

I think we should keep it up. 

Generous thoughts are good for us and everyone around us. 

Let’s reshape our brains and transform our lives with generosity!.

 

Susanna Aughtmon is a gifted writer, wonderful wife, mother, daughter and friend, and a valued member of the I Like Giving team.