How Gratitude Changes the Brain

With all the supplements and fad diets being advertised, sometimes it is nice to hear that a simple mindset or perspective change can have real impacts on our lives. Meditation is becoming evermore popular amongst people in the western world and across the globe, but even more simple thought patterns can be useful as well. Namely, gratitude has an impact on how you approach life and particularly changes the physiology of your brain!

According to a study performed by researchers in Indiana University, patients suffering from anxiety and depression who were assigned a simple gratitude exercise were able to significantly reduce their poor mood. It led to “profound” and long-lasting effects that were particularly useful for the patients.

gratitudeHere are a few steps that you can use in order to be more grateful:

  1. Daily gratitude journal – every morning when I wake up, I have a daily routine. I meditate, but also journal about what I am grateful for. There are plenty of things in this world to be grateful for and in a particular moment you might be more grateful for one thing than another. Try not to repeat things too often (obviously we’re grateful for food every day!)
  2. Gratitude before eating – that brings us to the next point: gratitude for the food that we have. Many millions of humans around the globe do not have the options and plethora of opportunities to eat like in the west. Even if you are on a budget and don’t make a lot of money, you are probably doing better than a high percentage of the world. Just say a couple of words about the food that you’re eating, where it may have come from, and how it might impact you.
  3. Check your “highs” and “lows” – every day comes with high points and low points, but rarely do we go back and spend time thinking about them. Most days slip into obscurity as we remember only the biggest and most impactful things in our lives. Instead, think about the high point of your day and the low point and find something to be grateful for both of them.

As the research from Indiana University shows, this is going to help you feel less anxious and stressed. Given that over half Americans feel extreme levels of stress, it is useful to start this type of practice. Soon, you’ll realize that you walk through life more grateful for everything.