This has actually been studied and we know that being consciously grateful can change our brains for the better. When we practice gratitude regularly it can decrease depression and anxiety, increase our levels of dopamine (this hormone rewards the brain and helps us move towards rewards) and the effects appear to be lasting. If this sounds surprisingly like the neurological effects of storytelling you wouldn't be wrong. Maybe when we practice gratitude regularly we are telling ourselves stories about the possibility of a better world which helps us move to make that world a reality. I don't know, but it seems like a nice idea.
In the spirit of the season and because I believe it's important every day, here are eleven things this storyteller is grateful for, specifically related to storytelling and its impact on my life.
- I am grateful for the sense of connection I feel when I tell or listen to stories.
- I am grateful for the opportunity to tell at all. I would do so even were I not paid for it, but how fortunate I am that I can make my living this way.
- I am grateful for every single person who has taken the time to listen to me.
- I am grateful for every single person who has hired me.
- I am grateful for artists of every stripe who have shared their work, so I may be inspired, intrigued, frustrated and moved.
- I am grateful for those who have taken my workshops and believed I had something useful to say.
- I am grateful for those who trust me to coach them, what an honor!
- I am grateful for the stories themselves, that help me understand myself and the world more deeply.
- I am grateful to my teachers, those who have inspired me and believed in me, including my parents, my step-kids, Brother Blue, Ruth, Kevin, Charley and many, many more. If your name is not here please don't be hurt. I am grateful to you.
- I am grateful for the overheard moments, the books, the poems, the movement of the trees, the tastes, the everything that has inspired me to create.
- I am grateful for you, the listeners and readers, the people whose interest in what I have to say gives me the belief that maybe I have something worthwhile to say after all. Thank you. I could not do this without you. You have, quite literally, saved my life at times.
I fear this list may seem trite, or that I've overlooked something or someone terribly important, but it's a start. It's interesting to me, limiting this list to the impact of storytelling; there are many more things I am grateful for in general, but it was fun thinking storytelling specifically. What are you grateful for? What or who would you like to thank? I'd love to know. Let us give thanks, together.
(c)2016 Laura S. Packer