The science of grat­i­tude

We all know that be­ing grate­ful is good for us, but did you know there is strong sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to sug­gest that a reg­u­lar grat­i­tude prac­tice can have a pro­found and pos­i­tive im­pact on our brain? Kristy von Minden ex­plains how to in­cor­po­rate this into

Nadia - - WELL-THY - my­mind­bright.com @my­mind­bright

Our brain has an in­built neg­a­tiv­ity bias. This means we are more sen­si­tive to un­pleas­ant news and events. It also means we don’t pay as much at­ten­tion to and tend to for­get life’s more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences.

This bias most likely evolved from an evo­lu­tion­ary need to keep us out of harm’s way. Sur­vival de­pended on our abil­ity to no­tice and re­act to dan­ger. How­ever, in these safe and abun­dant times, this doesn’t al­ways serve us well.

By reg­u­larly paus­ing to ex­press what we are grate­ful for, we can re­wire our brains to scan for and no­tice the good.

Re­searchers sug­gest that it ac­tu­ally changes our mind­set – the more you prac­tise feel­ing and ex­press­ing grat­i­tude, the more eas­ily grat­i­tude will come to you spon­ta­neously in the fu­ture.

It feels good while we are prac­tis­ing it, too. Our brain is flooded with the chem­i­cal dopamine, which re­wards us with a nat­u­ral high and mo­ti­vates us to con­tinue to be thank­ful.

Re­search on grat­i­tude shows that these neu­ro­log­i­cal ef­fects also open the doors to many other health ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing de­creased pain lev­els, bet­ter sleep, more en­ergy, and re­duced stress, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

The key with a grat­i­tude prac­tice is es­tab­lish­ing it as a part of your daily rou­tine so it be­comes ef­fort­less. Find some­thing you do ev­ery day as a trig­ger to re­mind you, for ex­am­ple:

> Write three things you’re grate­ful for on the shower wall while your con­di­tioner sets

> Write in a jour­nal first thing while you en­joy your morn­ing cup of tea > Prac­tise with your loved ones at the din­ner ta­ble.

It can help to share with oth­ers, to re­ally em­bed the ex­pe­ri­ence in your brain. This Christ­mas could be a great time to sit with your fam­ily and each name three im­ma­te­rial things you are grate­ful for.

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