The Science of Gratitude: How Treating Your Feet Right Can Elevate Your Mood
It’s the season of gratitude. But there’s more to a gratitude mindset than just saying what you’re thankful for around the table or spending a little extra time with family for a few weeks out of the year.
Gratitude can impact not only our minds, but our bodies and our emotions–and vice versa. Our bodies, and how they feel, can impact our emotions, our moods, and even our gratitude mindsets. So since our bodies, minds, and emotions are all connected, how can we start to create a practice that helps us feel better, feel more grateful, and improve our overall mood?
Why Practice Gratitude?
Before we look at how to increase gratitude and improve your mood, let’s look at why you should.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact of gratitude on mental well-being. When individuals cultivate a habit of expressing gratitude, it can lead to various mood-enhancing benefits including stress reduction and overall well-being.
Grateful individuals often report higher life satisfaction and a greater sense of well-being. This positive mindset can contribute to a more resilient and positive approach to life's challenges. Gratitude has been shown to decrease feelings of envy, resentment, and frustration. It promotes a more optimistic outlook on life.
Boost Your Mood With Your Feet
What do your feet have to do with your mood and gratitude?
Reflexology is an ancient practice that involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet, which are believed to correspond to various organs and systems in the body. The underlying principle is that these pressure points, when stimulated, can have positive effects on the corresponding areas of the body. This stimulation of certain nerve endings is believed to send signals to the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and balance. Stimulating these areas may also trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and stress relievers, contributing to an improved mood.
Through simple reflexology techniques you can see:
- Pain relief
- Improved sleep
- A balanced energy flow
So, by stimulating the nerve endings in your feet, you can start to improve your overall health and mood…and that’s something to be grateful for! When we feel good, when our energy is flowing and we’re getting enough sleep, it’s much easier to have a positive outlook on life and be grateful for what we have.
Here are a few simple reflexology techniques you can try at home.
Keep in mind that these techniques are meant for general relaxation and well-being, and if you have specific health concerns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.
Feel Good Foot Tips
- Sit comfortably with one foot resting on the opposite knee.
- Using your thumbs, walk along the entire surface of the foot, starting at the base of the toes and moving towards the heel.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure, paying attention to any areas that feel tender or tense.
- Repeat this process several times, gradually increasing or decreasing pressure based on your comfort level.
Ball and Arch Massage:
- Place a tennis ball or a massage ball under your foot.
- Roll the ball back and forth along the arch of your foot, applying gentle pressure.
- You can also roll the ball from the heel to the ball of the foot and back.
Thumb Pressing (Solar Plexus Point):
- Locate the solar plexus point on the sole of your foot. It's approximately in the center, just below the ball of the foot.
- Using your thumb, apply steady pressure to this point in a circular motion.
- The solar plexus point is associated with stress relief and relaxation.
Support with (Orange) Insoles:
- Orange Insoles help give your feet a break! When you put insoles in your shoes, you are relieving the strain and pressure put on the muscles in your feet. (and lower extremity)
- Orange Insoles deep heel cup and layer of premium cushioning provide shock absorption for your feet during a variety of activities including walking, running, working, standing for long periods, playing sports, & more!
Add in Gratitude:
While you pamper your feet, work on focusing your mind and attention on the things you’re grateful for. Here are some tips for turning footcare into a gratitude practice.
- Stay mindful: Turn your foot care routine into a mindful and gratitude-filled experience. Rather than rushing through it, savor the sensations and express appreciation for the opportunity to care for your feet.
- Meditate: Consider incorporating short gratitude meditation sessions into your foot care routine. Focus your thoughts on gratitude as you perform each step, fostering a sense of mindfulness and positive energy.
- Express gratitude for your body: Extend your gratitude practice beyond foot care to encompass your entire self-care routine. Express thanks for the time and effort you invest in taking care of your body, recognizing the connection between self-care and overall well-being.
By combining gratitude with self-care, you're not only attending to the physical well-being of your feet and your body, but also nourishing your mental and emotional well-being. The result is an elevated mood and a greater sense of overall happiness.