Hope Network, LLC guest writer, ‘Luminous Momma’ shares her insights on the topic of ‘Gratitude’ which is a key to growing hope. 

In this series on having more hope, I’m sharing some of the keys from the presentation, “Psychology of Happiness, a Provider and Patient Perspective” in September of 2019 by Dr. Ralph Carson, RD, LD, PhD and ERC National Recovery Advocate Shannon Kopp put on by the Eating Disorders Coalition of Iowa (EDCI) & Nebraska ED Network Omaha, NE (NEDN).

A takeaway from their presentation is that the key of authentic ‘gratitude’ helps create new cells through neurogenesis in our left pre-frontal cortex (LPFC) that helps grow hope. 

The right PFC keeps us safe, it’s where we experience anger, fear and disgust. Feeling like I might fall down a cliff into a river grew my fear…and Dr. Carson said we need a balance of the cells between right and left to grow hope. 

Authentic hope is illustrated so well by Luminous Momma here in her letter to other mommas caring for a child with an eating disorder. 

Dear Beautiful Warrior Momma,

Do you remember that feeling of airiness and joy when you blew bubbles with your children? Or a cool, soft breeze that ever so lightly touches down on your cheeks and nose as you sit before crashing waves by the ocean, do you remember Momma?                                     

That’s what GRATITUDE is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its this momentary feeling of lift to something higher and lovelier.

Gratitude is Life-Changing as it opens us up to more, a bigger perspective. It grows and softens our rigid tunnel vision to one of possibility and promise. That small shift in our thinking can change EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only for ourselves but for our struggling loved ones as well.

Did you know dear one that gratitude is Life-Giving? Yes it grows those “happy chemicals” in your brain. Just in the simple act of trying to think on things you are grateful for increases your serotonin production and raises those happy chemical levels dramatically. New cell growth is fostered and a pulse of life goes coursing through your body raising happiness and well-being feelings. Love those little neurotransmitters that create more Life, more Breath and more Joy for us!  We invite this amazing reaction each time we say “Thank You.”

Now I am sure you may be wondering Momma, ‘yes this is all well and wonderful and it is great to have this knowledge AND How does this translate to my down the rabbit hole “Alice in Wonderland “ existence today?’  Well dear one, Gratitude was the muscle I strengthened to keep myself upright in the upside-down world of my daughter’s disease. 

Writing a small thank you note each night helped me create a mantra, “More Blessed than Broken-hearted” that I clung to. These were the words I spoke aloud andin the quiet of my heart all day long. Every evening I penned a note to someone who shined a li’l bit of light into my daily darkness. Maybe the note was to a friend who dropped off a pretty, pink box of pastries so I wouldn’t have to cook a full breakfast that morning. Maybe my note was to my husband who continued to stay with me as we struggled to navigate this hell we were in. Sometimes Momma it was to my own sweet self for being steady in this journey of sickness and rising up the next day to face it all over again. 

Gratitude gave me strength and practicing it made me stronger.

Gratitude was the sword I yielded in standing grounded in the midst of hurting and heart-ache. 

Gratitude was the bridge I stood upon not allowing myself to sink into the abyss of hopelessness and it helped me stay connected to others. 

Let’s face it Momma this journey can get oh so very lonesome if we do not reach out in some way.

Gratitude guided me into a growth so I could look beyond all the broken and bleeding and Believe that there was more than what I could see going on. It invited me to look deeper and SEE I was being supported in small yet loving ways, I was somehow handling this unholdable of sorts in my family’s life, I was stepping forward though some days looked like 3 steps forward two steps back. I was beginning to find there was a way to have a Thanks-Living in the middle of the mayhem and the mess and I began to hold the hope a little higher and breathe a bit more deeply. 

And dear Momma in the midst of my making meaning of this practice of Gratitude my sweet struggling loved one began to forge her own path of happy and healthy too.

Same circumstances and yet something was loosened and softened and we all began a new journey. One of healing and happy as a family.

I invite you to do something different this day. To take a deep, deep breath and look around and SEE some of the blessings that may be holding you and your family upright.  Name them Momma, name them for your family and friends and most of all name them for yourself. Remember simply in that act of trying to name them new life comes to you.

My prayer dear Momma is that you begin your own path to a space of Thanks-Living, you are worthy!!!!!!

Blessings,

Luminous Momma