Your Grateful Brain

Lucky you if you had plenty to be grateful for over the Thanksgiving weekend. We know, by now, that holidays and time with family and friends don’t always pan out the way we would like or choose!

On the morning of Thanksgiving day, I promised myself to maintain a positive attitude and count my blessings – no matter what came up that might persuade me to falter from my worthy intention.

I was rather intrigued to note that it didn’t take long (about 30 minutes) to become aware of my inner-critic voicing its opinion about my poor time management for the day.  Heck, it was only 10 am and this was how it was going to be?

At least I caught these niggling, nagging thoughts before they took on more power than they were worth. Giving myself a pep talk as soon as the complaints set in helped in resetting any “stinking thinking”.

The mystics have always known it and now the scientists are proving it.
And it is so simple.

Practicing the art and science of gratitude can help:

  • Improve your sleep
  • Protect you from illness
  • Boost your happiness
  • Enhance your romantic relationships
  • Relieve depression
  • Motivate you to exercise
  • Help you relax more deeply

Neuroscientists are now researching how gratitude is benefiting our brains.

When we report grateful feelings our brains show activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. This is an area in the frontal lobes of the brain where the two hemispheres meet.

It is associated with understanding other people’s perspectives, empathy, and feelings of relief.  No wonder it feels so good for our hearts to feel this expansive emotion frequently.

This is also an area of the brain that is intimately connected to the systems in the body that regulate emotion and support the process of stress relief.

Hopefully, anxiety and depression can take a back seat while we emphasize what is good, nourishing, fun, and fulfilling in our lives. It can be as simple as an appreciation for hot running water on demand. Think about it.

Now we have proof that a daily gratitude practice can significantly increase our happiness — and our physical health.

It’s the best gift you could give to yourself and it doesn’t cost you a cent!

With much gratitude to you,
from Anne xx