Can Gratitude Literally Alter the Brain and the Heart?
being grateful brings good feeling and better health.
People of various nationalities who have more grateful dispositions report fewer health complaints than their less grateful counterparts. One
study reports that the more grateful participants reported fewer health problems (such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory
infections, and sleep disturbances); in another, they reported fewer physical symptoms (including headaches, dizziness, stomachaches, and
Here are the results of few studies that conclude that gratitude can improve your health:Research from UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness
Research Center. According reports: “Having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps gray matter
functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less
reactive and less resistant. Also, there are a number of studies showing that people who count their blessings tend to be far happier and
experience less depression. Researchers from Berkeley have identified how gratitude works on our minds and bodies. The following are four
insights from their research suggesting what causes the psychological benefits of gratitude.
Gratitude releases us from toxic emotions
Gratitude helps even if you do not share it
Gratitude’s benefits take time and practice
Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain
“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.” — Unknown
Our feelings of gratitude are products of our consciousness, and when we feel them, the brain responds. Researchers are now discovering
that the heart also responds and that it might actually be the heart that is responsible for sending these signals to the brain. Current studies have
proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which
determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain. In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return
and these heart signals (from heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.
What we have today is what we once wanted before. There is a lingering belief out there that obtaining material possessions is the key to
happiness. Sometimes this may be true, but that happiness is temporary. The truth is that happiness is an inside job. I feel if there was ever a
quick fix for mental and physical health issues that just expressing your gratitude is it. It is easy, you can keep it to yourself and the research
has shown it works. What is the catch? You. You have to actually take the time and opportunity to do it.
There are many online techniques that you can find and the following are two that I highly recommend.
1. Take the time to notice and reflect on things that you are thankful for. It does not take long to send out a silent message to the universe,
“Thank you for that “name the blessing”.
2. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily, or at least weekly. What do I do to express my gratitude?
“Today be thankful and think how rich you are. Your family is priceless, your time is gold and your health is
wealth.” — Zig Ziglar
Gratitude is a funny thing. In some parts of the world, somebody who gets a clean drink of water,
some food, or a worn out pair of shoes can be extremely grateful. Meanwhile, somebody else who
has all the necessities they need to live can be found complaining about something. “Be thankful for
what you have, you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
It is a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking
and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us
are always looking at external factors to experience joy and happiness, when in truth it is an inside job.
Gratitude — defined as the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to
return kindness — can be an incredibly powerful experience and now there is growing evidence that
Here are two things that I use daily: The very first thing every morning, I give
thanks for what I call my basics: health, family, home, my love, my money
makers: car, phone, iPad and other areas depending on what is going on in my life
at the time. Also, I always say thank you to people who provide service or
assistance. In general, I praise throughout the day, for just about anything and
everything that I experience or that crosses my mind. For example, I give thanks
for getting a good parking spot, a good deal at the store, heck for a good hair day.
You get the idea. Oh and if it is something I think is really big, I do a little happy
dance (not in public though I wait until I am alone.)
Emotions and other factors associated with consciousness have the power to
transform our inner world in ways we do not yet fully understand but new
research shows how consciousness can actually transform our physical/material
world, and that is huge. This validates the idea that if we can change our inner
world through gratitude, empathy, compassion, and meditation, we can make our
outer world healthier and more fulfilling.And so to all of my readers . . . “Thank
you for your part in my journey.”