'We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. If you can remember to be grateful, the things you see will reflect that, and in the long run, you will be happier, healthier, and more productive for it.'Anais Nin
It may seem cheesy and cliché, but consistently reminding yourself about some of the things in life you can be grateful for is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being grateful makes you happier and changes your attitude about life.
The measurable benefits of gratitude are actually backed up by hard science.
Philosophers and spiritual leaders have been preaching the importance of gratitude for centuries, but just recently researchers started testing gratefulness in laboratories, and the results have been pretty remarkable.
There have been various studies utilizing functional MRI’S and brain imaging techniques to map the effect of gratitude on our brains. The effects are significant.
It turns out that gratitude affects our brain in two ways:
Biologic: Researchers found dramatically increased activity in the hypothalamus when participants were asked to evoke feelings of gratitude. The hypothalamus, a tiny part of your brain (about the size of a walnut) is responsible for many of the body’s day-to-day functions.Increased activity in your hypothalamus correlates to better self-care, less stress, and overall better health. (1)
Cognitive: Consistently turning your focus toward gratitude is powerful because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. A research article in Psychology Today, called ‘Grateful Brain’, explains this concept very clearly.‘
Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. It is like a small child: easily distracted. Oh your tummy hurts? Here’s a lollipop. So you lost your job? Isn’t it wonderful we’re having KFC for dinner?
On top of that your brain loves to fall for the confrmation bias, that is it looks for things that prove what it already believes to be true. Once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for.
That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created.’ (2)
That’s the fascinating neuroscience of giving thanks.
But gratitude changes more than just brain chemistry. It’s amazing how one simple, easy, positive action can have such an incredible impact on our physical health, psychological well-being, and on our relationships with others.
Robbert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, has been studying the power of gratitude for more than a decade. In a series of studies, Emmons helped people systematically cultivate gratitude by letting them keep a gratitude journal in which they regularly record the things for which they’re grateful. Emmons says that keeping a gratitude journal often seems ‘so simple and basic; in our studies we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming.’
Emmons studied more than one thousand people, from ages 8 to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report the following positive effects, which are incredibly far reaching. (3)
You are probably already jumping up and down from excitement. But this is an added bonus:
Being grateful is sexy. Really. People who have a positive, grateful outlook on life are extremely attractive. It’s a blessing for the people around you. It makes you charismatic.
With the 100-Day Journal you keep adding gratitude into the neural connections of the brain. You are developing that gratitude muscle. And things won’t only feel or look better because of that – they actually get better. Get your copy today.
'Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.' – Dalai Lama
Remember that day? You know the one. The one you can’t remember anything about, yet you remember that you went to bed that night thinking it was just the most awesome day? What was it that made that day so phenomenal? What did you do, feel, sense, experience, or contribute that day? Who did you connect with?
A lack of a good night’s sleep can be a major drag on our happiness. If we don’t get enough sleep, our cognitive abilities throughout the day drop, our motivation drops, our stress goes up, and we tend to make worse decisions.