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How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain
Everyone wants a happy and fulfilled life.
You will have a comfortable job, a happy family, financial stability, and a wonderful social life.
In this endless pursuit of happiness, how often do you take a moment to be grateful for what you already have in this moment?
Gratitude can be a powerful emotion. We can find the joy we are looking for everywhere else by sending and receiving simple “thank you” messages.
In its most basic form, gratitude is a state of thankfulness or being grateful.
Do you mean to say “Thank you,” or are you just saying it politely? Neuroscientists found that people who feel gratitude when they say it will be happier and healthier. It’s not a new-age fad to express gratitude. It’s an aspect of human nature that reaps real benefits for those who genuinely mean it.
Giving thanks to others, Mother Nature, and the Almighty can help us feel happier. It can have a healing effect (Russell & Fosha 2008). There are many benefits to gratitude. Let us explore them and learn how to use gratitude to make life more enjoyable.
How Gratitude works
Enjoy the small things.- Robert Brault
Happiness is linked to gratitude in all its forms. It doesn’t matter if we say “thank you” to someone or get the same from others; the feeling it gives is one of pure happiness and encouragement. Gratitude helps build and sustain long-lasting relationships, cope with adversities, and bounce back with strength and motivation.
Gratitude brings happiness
Gratitude can improve interpersonal relationships at work and home (Gordon. Impett. Kogan. Oveis. & Keltner 2012). There are many dimensions to the connection between gratitude, happiness, and joy. Expressing gratitude to others, as well as to ourselves, can lead to positive emotions and, most importantly, happiness. Gratitude can also positively impact our overall health, well-being, and happiness by generating feelings of joy and contentment.
Robert Holden, a British psychologist and wellness expert, found that 65 percent of adults favored happiness over health in a survey about gratitude among adult professionals. However, they acknowledged that both are equally important to a happy life. Holden’s study suggested that unhappiness is the root of many psychopathological conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, and other forms of mental illness.
Simple things like keeping a gratitude diary, complimenting ourselves, and sending small tokens of appreciation and thank-you notes can instantly improve our mood and make us feel better. Studies of couples have shown that those who express their gratitude to one another often could maintain their relationships with mutual trust and loyalty, leading to long-lasting happy relationships.
Better Physical Health
Research into the effects of gratitude on physical health has shown even more outstanding results. Gratitude and focusing on the positive can help improve sleep quality, anxiety, and depression. In addition, gratitude is associated with better moods, less fatigue, and inflammation, reducing the risk of developing heart disease, even in those already at high risk.
Professional commitment is built on Gratitude.
Gracious workers are more productive, efficient, and responsible. Expressing gratitude at work is a proactive step towards building interpersonal bonds. It triggers feelings of closeness.
Employees who are grateful at work are more likely to be willing to do more, give extra effort to complete their tasks, and work together as a team. Managers and supervisors who are grateful for their employees and remind them to do the same have stronger team cohesiveness and greater productivity.
They can recognize and reward good work, give everyone their due importance, and communicate with team members.
Grateful leaders can be compassionate, thoughtful, sympathetic, and loved by others.
Gratitude and Your Brain
Brain activity is key to gratitude’s positive impact on health and well-being. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles measured brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects were then induced to feel grateful by receiving gifts. The medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex showed increased activity. These areas are associated with moral and interpersonal cognition, reward, empathy, and value judgment. The emotion of gratitude supports a positive attitude towards others and provides relief from stressors.
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Happiness and Joy can be achieved by cultivating Gratitude.
Unhappy people tend to be more dependent on their weaknesses and have difficulty identifying their happiness. Stop doubting yourself and celebrate your achievements. Wondering how?
You don’t have to practice gratitude in a particular way. It is essential to find a daily practice that you love and allow gratitude to fill you completely. These are some ideas that can help you feel better right away.
- Create reminders on your smartphone – While you are getting used to practicing positive energy, create three reminders throughout the day for times you can make a mental note, record a voice memo, or write down something. You will be able to establish the new habit if the times are consistent, such as after you wake up in the morning, lunch, and before you go to sleep at night.
- Keep a gratitude notebook and write down three things each day you’re grateful for. You can be grateful for anything from the most important thing to the minor things, such as “I’m thankful the sun shines today.” You can also go back to the recordings and listen to them later.
- Write a thank you letter or email to someone in your life who has made your life meaningful, added value, or helped in some way. To express your gratitude, send them an email or letter; this is a great way to keep in touch while social distancing.
- Go on a gratitude walk, preferably in the park or in nature. Enjoy the fresh air, outdoor exercise, and being outside.
- Take on the “no complaining challenge for one day, week, or month. You will be asked to stop complaining. Look on the bright side and find something to cheer you up or change the subject. It’s a good idea to tell your family and friends what you are doing and invite them along.
- Watch your self-talk. Try to change the way you talk about yourself. For example, instead of looking in the mirror and noticing “flaws,” try changing your internal dialogue and focusing on positive things about yourself.
Remind yourself of the positive things in your life. Remind yourself of your successes and how everything is going for you. You can talk about your past accomplishments, current efforts, talents, or virtues; say the words aloud. You can compliment yourself with words such as “beautiful,” “loyal, and “disciplined.” Keep doing this as many times as you like and make a note of your experience.