How Gratitude Can Change Your Brain and Change Your Life

How Gratitude Can Change Your Brain and Change Your Life

What do you feel when someone says ‘thank you’ or that they appreciate you? Do you feel warm, happy, or some other positive emotion when someone shows you gratitude for the things that you do? Typically, when people show or tell us how thankful they are for our actions, service, or words, we feel some sort of positive emotion.

Now, think about showing gratitude towards others. Have you ever been in a hurry at a retail store and hardly looked at the service worker who was ringing your stuff up? Have you ever completely forgotten to say thank you or acknowledge them?

People need to know that you see them and that you appreciate and value the work that they do. Whether you’re giving or receiving these positive vibes, there are so many benefits that can come from spreading kindness, gratitude, and joy.

Gratitude Releases Dopamine

Did you know that acts of kindness and feelings of gratefulness flood our brains with a chemical called dopamine? Dopamine is essentially a feel-good chemical that is produced in our brains. When we are truly grateful for something or someone, our brains reward us with a natural high that makes us feel good. 

So what does this mean exactly? When you give or receive gratitude, your brain naturally rewards these behaviors. Now imagine if you could harness this mindset and change your actions so you are consistently giving gratitude every day and therefore receiving positive vibes back from your brain? That’s a lot of dopamine making you feel light and happy!

In addition to releasing dopamine in your brain, research also shows that gratitude also helps improve sleep, mood, and reduces pain and stress levels. With just a few simple words of gratitude, you could be helping someone improve in all these areas of their life. That’s pretty amazing.

Challenge: Tell Someone that You Appreciate Them

With all of these amazing benefits in mind, we have a challenge for you. Every day, take the time to show someone your gratitude. Tell them that you appreciate what they do and show them how they add value to your life. 

Take the extra time to have these types of conversations with people you might not normally talk to. Whether it’s a retail worker, your assistant, friends, family you name it! Block out time every day to spread gratitude to someone that makes a difference to you.

In addition to telling people you’re grateful for them, you might also want to keep a gratitude journal. Mark down the people, places, and things that you are grateful for. You might be surprised how quickly you will come to appreciate things that you might not always think about. 

So, let’s be intentional about letting people know that we care. You can share your experience of showing or feeling gratitude in our Mental Fitness Matters community and use the hashtags #gratitude and #MentalFitnessMatters. We want to hear your stories about spreading kindness, joy, and gratitude to others. Let us know, and keep spreading those positive vibes.

About Tracy Alston

Tracy Alston is a licensed professional counselor, a mental fitness consultant and board certified in Biofeedback and neurofeedback. Tracy is the Founder and CEO of two companies located in Mooresville, N.C., New Mentality, P.C. and Mental Edge Fitness Solutions, Inc. Tracy’s passion is creating strategies and solutions for improving mental health and mental fitness.

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