Scientists now recognize that gratitude is one of the most powerful and healthiest of human emotions. Studies at University of Miami, UC Davis, and other universities successfully demonstrate that remembering to be grateful for what we have in life can greatly outweigh any sadness, stress, or challenges we might currently experience. In fact, new studies of the brain from neuropsychology show that gratitude is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to experience overall wellbeing.
So, how exactly does gratitude make us happy and healthy?
A 2009 study by the National Institutes of Health placed participants in fMRI machines to measure blood flow in the brain. The volunteers were told to engender feelings of gratitude. Those participants who felt the emotion of gratitude experienced more activity in the brain’s hypothalamus than those in the test group who did not. An active hypothalamus is helpful since it regulates sleep, digestion and metabolism. More importantly, the study concluded that people who regularly express gratitude are less susceptible to anxiety and stress.
Gratitude also has a powerful social benefit. It helps us to feel more connected to others. Just saying the simple words “Thank you” can lift us out of our own individual concerns and serve to remind us of the joy and happiness that others bring to in our life. Expressing gratitude not only benefits the recipient of our appreciation, but oneself.
However you choose to celebrate this Thanksgiving weekend, remember to give thanks and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for all the abundance in our life!
To learn more about the powerful healing benefits of gratitude and practical tools for developing greater health and happiness, please enjoy my e-book The Five Secrets for Achieving Authentic Health and Happiness.