Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for all of the good things in your life and taking the time to express appreciation. Showing gratitude has been scientifically proven to have effects on your physical health, psychological well-being, and your relationships with others. Which is why, as we all try to navigate this time, finding things to be grateful for, no matter how small, is more important than ever.
What is Gratitude?
There are many ways that you can express gratitude, whether you are saying “thank you” when someone lends a helping hand or keeping a gratitude journal. However, gratitude is more than just an expression.
Scientists argue that gratitude is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting productivity. Many positive emotions quickly wear off, but gratitude allows you to appreciate the value of something and extract more benefits than other positive emotions.
Gratitude and the Brain
When the brain feels gratitude, the parts of the brain activated are the areas involved in feeling reward, morality, interpersonal bonding, and positive social interactions. Gratitude also has the ability to increase important neurochemicals.
Gratitude brings about positive thoughts and this leads to an increase in feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Many studies over the past decade have proven that people who consistently practice gratitude tend to be happier and more confident.
The positive effects of gratitude make sense. When you are feeling grateful, you are blocking negative emotions. Numerous studies show that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, people who are generally grateful are able to recover quicker.
Even during these difficult times, people who practice gratitude are more optimistic and therefore are able to remain positive.
Gratitude allows you to celebrate the present and participate more in life. When you focus on being grateful for things, you notice the positive more.
During this time, there are certainly things we can be grateful for. The opportunity to slow down, to rest, and to practice self care are all things you may find gratitude in.
Choose to be grateful for the good people and things in your life. Whether you write them down in a journal, send a thank you note, or give back to show appreciation in your community, being grateful will benefit you and the people around you.