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The Science Behind Gratitude

There is more to gratitude than just a feeling, gratitude is a way of being. ⠀

Cultivating a sense of gratitude for the moment, the people in our lives, our material goods, and the experience of life including the hardships and victories transforms how we approach our life and turns what we have into enough.

The regions associated with gratitude are part of the neural networks that light up when we socialize and experience pleasure.

Scientific Research

Current research shows that being grateful:⠀ » lights up the brain’s reward pathway

» lessens anxiety and depression symptoms ⠀ » shifts the hearts rhythm and increases coherence of body functions ⠀ » increases resilience (the ability to bounce back from stressful situations)⠀ » increases empathy and compassion ⠀ » increases social connection

What Does It Mean to Be Grateful?

Being grateful does not mean tricking your mind to think that everything is always fine and dandy, instead it means focusing your time and attention on what you appreciate and accepting this discomforting experiences in life as part of your journey.

The goal is not to block out difficulties, but to approach those difficulties from a different perspective. Appreciation softens us. It soothes our minds and hearts by connecting us with the wonderfully ordinary things, great and small, that we might otherwise take for granted.

So what are you grateful for?

Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

Say “thank you!” Who doesn’t want to be appreciated for their efforts? Saying thanks can be a gift, and one that feels pretty good, too!

Remember what you appreciate most. When you’re feeling low, take a moment and write down some things that spark gratitude in you, like: • Feeling the sunlight warm your skin • A stirring piece of music or art • A delicious or nutritious meal • A child’s laughter, a stranger’s sweet smile, a shared moment of joy

Pay attention to your emotions. Describe in as much detail as possible how your body feels when you express gratitude. Which emotions accompany these bubbly feelings? What kind of thoughts do you notice? When you begin to turn more frequently toward the things you appreciate, the world increasingly opens to reveal that there is always some small thing for which you can be grateful.

More tips and reading on gratitude click here

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