gratitudeGratitude, a great start of a great day.

Ask your self : What am I grateful for?

Sit still and really think about it, making a conscious effort to find the things that bring you joy or  peace of mind.

  • Which things that are in your life the give you joy?
  • Who makes your life easier, gives you smiles or helped you out?
  • Which events made you stronger?

These questions should get your brain started on a journey to wards happiness.

What happens when you practice being grateful:

A Shot of Dopamine – whether expressing gratitude for what’s good in life or showing gratitude to someone who has helped us at work, neural circuitry in our brain (stem) releases dopamine. Dopamine makes us feel good! And, because it feels good, we want more. It triggers positive emotions, we feel optimistic, and it fosters camaraderie. It also drives prosocial behaviors. Ah-ha! Put that under how to enhance performance, because dopamine has been linked to intrinsic motivation in goal accomplishment, whether academic, personal, or professional.

A Swig of Serotonin – when we reflect on or write down the positives in life and at work, our brain (anterior cingulate cortex) releases serotonin. Serotonin enhances our mood, (think anti-depressant), our willpower, and motivation. And yes, serotonin has also been called the happy molecule.

Some science of gratitude facts:

  • Keeping a gratitude diary for two weeks produced sustained reductions in perceived stress (28 percent) and depression (16 percent) in health-care practitioners.
  • Gratitude is related to 23 percent lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol).
  • Practicing gratitude led to a 7-percent reduction in biomarkers of inflammation in patients with congestive heart failure.
  • Two gratitude activities (counting blessings and gratitude letter writing) reduced the risk of depression in at-risk patients by 41 percent over a six month period.
  • Dietary fat intake is reduced by as much as 25 percent when people are keeping a gratitude journal.
  • A daily gratitude practice can decelerate the effects of neurodegeneration (as measured by a 9 percent increase in verbal fluency) that occurs with increasing age.
  • Grateful people have 16 percent lower diastolic blood pressure and 10 percent lower systolic blood pressure compared to those less grateful.
  • Grateful patients with Stage B asymptomatic heart failure were 16 percent less depressed, 20 percent less fatigued and 18 percent more likely to believe they could control the symptoms of their illness compared to those less grateful.
  • Older adults administered the neuropeptide oxytocin showed a 12 percent increase in gratitude compared to those given a placebo
  • Writing a letter of gratitude reduced feelings of hopelessness in 88 percent of suicidal inpatients and increased levels of optimism in 94 percent of them.
  • Grateful people (including people grateful to God) have between 9-13 percent lower levels of Hemoglobin A1c, a key marker of glucose control that plays a significant role in the diagnosis of diabetes.
  • Gratitude is related to a 10 percent improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain, 76 percent of whom had insomnia, and 19 percent lower depression levels.

People who are gratitude experts

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D

Martin Seligman, Ph.D.


Books on gratitude:


Gratitude elsewhere on the internet:

Psychology Today : 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Sara Gottfried MD:   Thanksgiving: What Gratitude Does to Your Brain

Five Myths about Gratitude

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Thank you with all my gratitude!

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