How Gratitude Can Make You a Better PersonNov 01, 2022
As young children, we learn that saying “thank you” is important and polite. But, science recently has revealed that this simple act of gratitude has far reaching effects on our physical and mental health, and it can even help us become better people.
Gratitude Changes Your Brain
One reason is that gratitude is more than a momentary feeling. It actually changes your brain chemistry, and rewires your overall thinking. In one study, areas of the brain associated with reward, empathy, and social cognition showed increased activity in subjects who had practiced gratitude as opposed to those who did not.
In another study by the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center of UCLA, researchers saw that gratitude does change neural structures in the brain, and make us feel happier and more content. Feeling grateful and appreciating others when they do something good for us triggers the ‘good’ hormones and regulates effective functioning of the immune system.
Gratitude Improves Your Mental Health
These days it seems mental health is at the front and center of most discussions on wellness and well being. A simple thing you can do each day is practice gratitude, since it can dramatically improve your overall mood. People who regularly notice and are thankful for the positive things in their life are more happy and have less stress and depression.
Gratitude helps us focus on the present. When we’re caught up in emotions, they often pull us out of the present and take us into the past or the future. Being thankful for what we have right now celebrates this moment. It also helps us to participate in what’s going on right now so instead of being spectators in our lives we become active participants.
Gratitude Helps You Become More Positive
While anxiety and depression come with different challenges, they do share something in common: they’re associated with underlying negative thinking patterns.
Stewing on negative thoughts will drag your mood down and suddenly you feel as negative as your thoughts. By practicing gratitude regularly, you can shift from a generally negative person to a generally positive person. You’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to stay stuck in negativity when you really tap into gratitude.
You can’t just go through the motions or simply just be thankful. To cultivate an attitude of gratitude, we can practice by being grateful for simple things that we often take for granted. Like your senses. I walk you through this exercise in my guided meditations.
While it’s not always easy, being grateful for the positives in life can have a profound impact on your mood, outlook, and overall well-being—and with regular practice, gratitude can also make you a better person.
COME BACK TO YOURSELF
I've created a special 12-minute guided meditation for you.
If you're feeling disconnected this is the meditation for you. You'll practice welcoming whatever feelings are present right now so you can connect back to your true self.