How Gratitude Can Rewire Your Brain
Grateful Rewires Your Brain
The more you are in a state of gratitude the more you will attract things to be grateful for. When the energy of gratitude is fully embodied, you never need more than what you have at any given moment. You realize that everything you have within is all you need for joy and manifestation. Don’t take what you’re grateful for for granted, because you honestly never know what will happen next. What you have will eventually be what you had. Life changes every single day. Letting go of control multiplies the potential for gratitude. Sometimes we put too much weight into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives that we completely miss the forest for the trees. One of the greatest laws of manifestation can be the simple art of letting go.
Learn to let go, relax a bit and ride the path that life takes you sometimes. Try something new, be fearless, be above your story, do your best and be ok with it. Clearing yourself of needless expectations lets you truly experience (and receive!) the unexpected.
THE NEUROSCIENCE OF
A GRATITUDE PRACTICE
By Dr.Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury
The Mindfulness Awareness Research Center of UCLA stated that gratitude does change the 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. Scientists have suggested that by activating the reward center of the brain, gratitude exchange alters the way we see the world and ourselves. Dr. Alex Korb, in his book Upward Spiral mentioned that gratitude forces us to focus on the positive sides of life. When we give and receive ‘thank you’ notes, our brain is automatically redirected to pay attention to what we have, producing intrinsic motivation and a strong awareness of the present. Also, at the neurochemical level, gratitude acts as a catalyst for neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – the ones that manage our emotions, anxiety, and immediate stress responses.
1. GRATITUDE RELEASES TOXIC EMOTIONS.
The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for all emotional experiences. It consists of the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, and cingulate gyrus. Studies have shown that hippocampus and amygdala, the two main sites regulating emotions, memory, and bodily functioning, get activated with feelings of gratitude.
2. GRATITUDE IS PAIN RELIEVING.
Counting Blessings vs Burdens (2003), a study conducted on evaluating the effect of gratitude on physical well-being, indicated that 16% of the patients who kept a gratitude journal reported reduced pain symptoms and were more willing to work out and cooperate with the treatment procedure. A deeper dig into the cause unleashed that by regulating the level of dopamine, gratitude fills us with more vitality, thereby reducing subjective feelings of pain.
3. GRATITUDE IMPROVES SLEEP.
Studies have shown that receiving and displaying simple acts of kindness activates the hypothalamus, and thereby regulates all bodily mechanisms controlled by the hypothalamus, out of which sleep is a vital one. Hypothalamic regulation triggered by gratitude helps us get deeper and healthier sleep naturally everyday. A brain filled with gratitude and kindness is more likely to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and energetic every morning (Zahn et al., 2009).
4. GRATITUDE IS STRESS REGULATING.
Several trials and studies on gratitude practices found that participants who felt grateful showed a marked reduction in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. They had better cardiac functioning and were more resilient to emotional setbacks and negative experiences. Significant studies over the years have established the fact that by practicing gratitude we can handle stress better than others. By merely appreciating the little things in life, we can rewire the brain to deal with the present circumstances with more awareness and broader perception.
5. GRATITUDE REDUCES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.
By reducing the stress hormones and managing the autonomic nervous system functions, gratitude significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. At the neurochemical level, feelings of gratitude are associated with an increase in the neural modulation of the prefrontal cortex, the brain site responsible for managing negative emotions like guilt, shame, and violence.
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