Healthy minds are full of appreciation. Appreciation creates belonging and changes stress to contentment.
What are you thankful for today? What makes you smile? Pause for a moment, and reflect on something you appreciate. What do you notice?
- A gift we share with others.
- Created from unexpected acts of kindness.
- Born out of fond memories with loved ones.
Appreciation, when shared, activates our relational circuits, resettles our nervous system and releases a cocktail of bonding hormones so we feel connected and peaceful. The student of Scripture will discover frequent reminders to remember, appreciate, enjoy and meditate on the good stuff.
Appreciation results in
- Positive emotions (strength, security)
- Positive emotions within others
- A sense of belonging
People who feel no appreciation
- Spread pain, distrust, anger and bitterness
- Expect the worst case scenario
- Feel rejection, depression and despair
- Fail to forgive others
Skill Four brings us together. When we create rejection, lovers, family, peers and strangers become commodities instead of comrades. When the non-relational parts of our brain run our relationship, trust erodes. The presence of Skill Four is a game-changer for relationships, a direct reflection of what a healthy and stable marriage, family and community looks like. When appreciation levels run low bitterness springs up.
Bobby spent much of his time at work isolated at his desk. All around him people busily and joyfully interacted with each other, but they did not include him. Without realizing it, Bobby’s body language was pushing people away. He often appeared defensive and frustrated. His coworkers sensed something was wrong in Bobby but they respected his nonverbal signals that screamed, “Leave me alone! Quit talking! Get out of here!” People gave him space.
One day Bobby turned to a coworker and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone talk to me? Everyone seems to interact, but they ignore me. What did I do wrong?” The coworker replied, “Bobby, to be honest, you give off signals that tell us you want to be left alone. You slam drawers. You grunt in frustration. You give us dirty looks. Your body language tells us to leave you alone, so we do.” Bobby was surprised by his coworkers words but he decided to practice creating appreciation. Bobby began to reach out to his coworkers. “You look nice today Helen!” “Hey Curt, nice job on the project last week!” “Betty, I’m grabbing a cup of coffee, can I get you one?” Soon Bobby was fully engaged with his coworkers, interacting and building joy. Appreciation provided the opportunity for meaningful heart to heart connections.
Appreciation is a Learned Behavior
Being around people who use Skill Four provides a clear example of what appreciation looks and feels like. We enjoy interacting with individuals and groups who are well-versed in appreciation skills. With practice and effort, appreciation becomes effortless.
Appreciation is Worth the Effort
Appreciation keeps us focused on what is important to keep us free from regrets and guilt. We restore appreciation when we ask, “What am I thankful for today?” We share appreciation when we express our appreciation. Start and end your day with appreciation and you will notice more energy, a more positive outlook and an increase in stamina to navigate hardship. Your health and relationships will thank you.