LoveYourBrain Tip: Express Gratitude!

EXPRESS GRATITUDE!

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BRAIN HEALTH | 11.23.2015 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, Ph.D., M.S.

loveyourbrain

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings” – William Arthur Ward

As the seasons change and the air becomes crisper, we are offered the opportunity to turn inward and introspect – upon our lives, our accomplishments, and, most importantly, what we’re grateful for.

One study found that people with clinical depression expressed significantly less gratitude than non-depressed controls.  Regardless of which came first, the depression or the lack of gratitude, it is clear that gratitude and depression are inversely related – the more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

Here’s more scientific evidence for the physiological and psychological benefits of gratitude:

  • Brain scans of people who practiced gratitude for 8 weeks revealed structural changes in areas related to social cognition, empathy, and reward processing.
  • PTSD symptoms decreased quicker in individuals who consciously expressed gratitude.

With all that’s happening in the world, it’s easy to feel an overwhelming sense of sorrow or negativity.  Expressing gratitude shifts our perspective and helps us to see the good, which is, in fact, all around us.

One way to give thanks is, well, to give!  Pay it forward.  Translate your gratitude into action that allows others to be grateful.  We’ll save the science of giving for next week’s tip.  For now, thank you all for being part of our beautiful LYB community and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!