Your Brain on Gratitude
As we near the end of the year, I’ve noticed a surge in count-downs to 2021. 2020 has made it incredibly easy for all of us to succumb to feelings of depression or negativity. For many of my clients experiencing difficulties, 2020 has made their circumstances that much more heart-wrenching. But what if we didn’t need to countdown to 2021 to experience happiness?
Thankfully, the passage of time isn’t the only healer of heartache, and we don’t need to wait until 2021 or a Chandler divorce decree to reset. Research in neuroscience proves that being grateful and helping others immediately improves mood and health. Acts of gratitude today, such as complimenting a stranger, helping a co-worker or keeping a gratitude journal are scientifically proven to create long-lasting effects. Resolve yourself to being grateful, and here’s what you can expect:
• Gratitude is scientifically proven as an antidote to aggression.
• Gratitude helps you let go and release toxic emotions.
• Gratitude tells the brain to release the “feel good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, creating feelings of calmness and happiness.
• Gratitude improves sleep quality by stimulating the hypothalamus.
• Feeling grateful decreases cortisol levels and improves cardiac functioning.
• Gratitude decreases physical pain brought on by extreme stress.
• Gratitude strengthens our prefrontal cortex, enabling better management of negative emotions like anger, shame, and guilt.
At the conclusion of a legal meeting earlier this year, I gave this advice to a struggling client. The client retorted that this was not legal advice, to which I responded (off the clock, of course) that I genuinely want my clients to live their best lives. That is my wish for all of you this Thanksgiving – to feel and show gratitude, thereby improving this crazy world we live in and living your best life.