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The Power of Gratitude

22 Nov

Gratitude is a daily practice that changes your mindset and brings so many benefits to your life, learn more here.

Pink diary with the words today I am grateful for written on it

It has been proven that being grateful has many benefits including increasing resilience, strengthening relationships, reducing stress/depression and even improving your immune system.

The more grateful you are, the greater your overall well-being and life satisfaction – you’ll also have a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep and the benefits to your mental wellbeing will be huge. Our ability to make good decisions is crucial, especially at a time when you are making important decisions about your and your family’s future.  Grateful people also have a greater capacity for joy and positive emotions.

How does being grateful work in the body?

When you feel gratitude, it activates the ventral and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex in your brain. These areas are involved in feelings of:

  • reward,
  • morality,
  • interpersonal bonding
  • and positive interactions.

Gratitude also gives you a surge of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These all contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection and happiness.

Practice makes perfect

Gratitude builds on itself. We know the brain changes with experience, so the more you practice gratitude, the more the brain learns to tune in to the positive things around you. This then conditions your brain to look for these experiences and they come more naturally. As humans, we have a negative bias, which means that we’re wired to notice threats in the environment which has been crucial to our survival as a species. However, as emotionally intelligent creatures we also want to be happy. When we focus too much on the negative, gratitude can be a way to nurture a more positive focus, and teach your brain to spend more time on the feel-goods and less time hanging on to the things that make us feel low and often we can’t control. Gratitude gives space for the positive experience to expand, or for us to ‘re-experience’ it.

When practising gratitude we need to not only teach it to tune into the positive, but also to hold those positives for long enough to have an effect to change the brain. Holding the positive experience for 20 seconds allows enough time to create positive structural changes in the brain.

How to do a gratitude practice

  1. Keep a daily gratitude journal, build this practice into your morning and bedtime routine.
  2. Write down 10 things, people, experiences you are grateful for and most importantly WHY? The magic is in the why.
  3. Close your eyes and feel the gratitude, don’t just write it FEEL it.

Practice this for 30 days and notice the difference, there are so many books, journals, apps to support you in this practice.

If you need more help, reach out to me and my team and we will point you in the right direction.

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