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Express Gratitude for a Healthier and Happier Body and Mind

The Task:

Express Gratitude

What does it mean to be grateful? To acknowledge the value that something or someone has on you and your life

Choose one of the Following Prompts:

  • Today I am grateful for ...(choose 3 things)​​​​

  • Write a letter to someone explaining why you're grateful for them. ​

  • This can be an in-depth letter to someone who has helped you throughout your life.

  • Or a simple letter to someone whose name you don't even know. For example "Thank you lady at the store for letting me go in front of you. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration."

  • If you want to take it an extra step, you can even share this letter with the person you feel grateful for via email, text or even a phone call.


Gratitude's Effect on the Brain

Have you ever had days or even weeks where it felt like nothing was turning out in your favor? At times like this it may be a challenge to find one, much less three things to be grateful for!

The good news? Researchers have found that the simple act of searching for things to be grateful for can be just as beneficial as writing down specific gratitudes. When you focus on positive aspects of your life you can increase the amount of serotonin, the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness, in the anterior cingulate cortex. This is an area of your brain associated with several complex cognitive functions, such as empathy, impulse control, emotion, and decision-making.

Practicing gratitude is a skill that you can develop. When you show gratitude, dopamine is released in multiple areas of your brain. This functions as a reward and the more often you practice, the more your brain seeks to replicate this pleasant feeling. Brain scans have shown that the benefits of feeling and expressing your gratitude are far greater than simply feeling grateful. You can think about how grateful you are for your friend, but when you express it you increase your well-being. Additionally, by sharing how you value this person you may have improved your friend's mood and encouraged them to express their gratitude to people in their life as well.



RESOURCES

Neuroscience Reveals: Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to be Happier

The Neuroscience Behind Gratitude: How Does Cultivating Appreciation Affect Your Brain?

How Gratitude Actually Changes Your Brain and is Good for Business

14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science

How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain


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