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When Gratitude Doesn’t Feel Genuine by Mariah Ehlert, CNSF

How does this word sit with you: “Gratitude”?

To be completely honest, this go-to, get-back-to-happy word has actually triggered me at times; as in ‘toss something across the room’ annoyed.

Why am I defaming one of the top most trendy and go-to healing words?

There have been times when I’ve been so limbic (aka in that state of stress response, fear, worry, anxiety) that I can ONLY see what will go wrong, what is a threat to me, and/or even any potential perceived threats.

Telling me to ‘be grateful’ would have only made me cry and feel worse because [inserting my belief:] I clearly wasn’t being grateful for what I had, so I must be even less worthy as a human on this planet. Right? I have felt disingenuous when listing the things/people/situations for which I’m grateful because I was still too worried about my situation and safety.

Anyone else been there?

If you haven’t, have a nice day, you’re amazingly lucky, spread your light.

If you HAVE been there, it’s NORMAL.

What can we do when we are fully limbic?

We can go through our list of basic needs. Our brains clearly need help understanding that we are not under attack, our stress is perceived, and we still have access to our basic needs: food, water, shelter, gravity, oxygen (in fact, we are getting O2 automatically, an added stress-relief bonus!).

Then repeat, repeat, repeat. Along with deep slow breathing, we can work our way out of those moments of high anxiety (or low, no need to be full-on anxious to try this).

Once we feel a sense of safety, it’s much easier and more accessible to look around and see what we have to be grateful for, even if it’s a pretty flower that is blossoming as we walk by.

Gradually, we can build up on the gratitude until it takes over and we’re beaming with our own light and, maybe even, then we can help others feel safe.

I invite you to take a moment, feel the ground below your feet or your seat, feel how gravity is supporting you, and take a slow deep breath. How do you feel safe today? How are your needs being met?


Mariah Ehlert, a certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator, Master Nutrition Therapist, Portrait Photographer, and Rebel. She lives in Denver, Co, travels the planet, is a perpetual dreamer, and loves to hike with her two silly border collies. She wants to teach you the tools to live with ease,  calm your stress response, and be healthier in mind and body. Your dreams are worth manifesting. And for most of us this requires navigating our way through stress, tricky mindset shifts, and entraining a powerful pathway for joy.  

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