Neuroscience Reveals How Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain To Be Happier

Do you say ‘thank you’ just to be polite or do you say it to express your gratitude? According to neuroscientists, if you feel it when you say it, you will be a very happy person. Expressing gratitude may have a huge impact on your overall health.

Psychologist Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami released a study in 2015 to put an emphasis on the physical outcome of practicing gratitude.

A third of the subjects wrote a daily journal of things that happened throughout their week for which they were really grateful. Another third of participants wrote down the things that irritate them on a daily basis.

The last group of participants wrote about the things they had no positive or negative emotional attachment to. After 10 weeks, participants talked about their feelings and their life in general.

The gratitude group was full of optimism and positive thinking. They were happy with their live, and were actually more active than those who focused on their negative experiences.

Good physical health

Expressing gratitude helps you sleep better at night and you are also able to deal with your anxiety and depression. Gratitude boosts your mood, reduces your inflammation, lowers your risk of heart failure and “kills” your fatigue.

Gratitude and human brain

A neurological experiment led by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles. They measured brain activity with magnetic resonance while subjects were given gifts in order to induce a feeling of gratitude.

There was an increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex. These areas are associated with moral and social cognition, reward, empathy and value judgment.

The results showed that gratitude promotes a positive and supportive attitude towards other people and relieves stress.

Gratitude activates the hypothalamus, and affects your metabolism, stress and other behavior. The hypothalamus is located at the base of your brain. Its main function is to regulate hormones responsible for body temperature, emotional response, appetite, sleep and other survival functions. Gratitude also affects dopamine or the pleasure hormone.

In adolescents, gratitude has an inverse correlation with bullying victimization and suicide risk. Gratitude gives you a feeling of self-worth and compassion for people around you.

3 steps to be more grateful

For some people, it’s really difficult to be grateful. However, we all have something to be grateful for. Say ‘thank you,’ and don’t forget to add your emotions to it.

We give you three ways to trigger a mindfulness of gratitude:

1. Write down at least three things that make you feel grateful. Do this in the morning or before you go to bed.

2. Talk to people about the things you appreciate about them.

3. Look in the mirror, and think of all the things that make you a good person.

Be grateful for the tiniest convenience in your life. Don’t be afraid to say ‘thank you’ for all the things that make you feel grateful. The world will become a better place if you open your heart.



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