This week I want to share with you, highlights from a podcast I recently listened to. It was about gratitude and our health – mental and physical.
The official podcast can be found here (source: Ben Greenfield Fitness Show). Till then, here’s what you need to know.
People who practice gratitude have greater empathy and are more altruistic
Gratitude rewires a part of the brain responsible for empathy. Using brain scans, scientists have observed anatomical changes on those who practice gratitude daily. When you’re grateful you see the best in everyone and are motivated to bring it out.
Gratitude reduces inflammation in the body
According to a study by the University of San Diego on cardiac patients, those who kept a gratitude journal showed a marked reduction of inflammation in the body, versus those who did not.
Gratitude upregulates feel good hormones
Daily gratitude activates parts of the brain which stimulate feel good hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin (typically released when you give someone a hug).
Gratitude creates healthier, happier babies
Environment can impact an expectant mother’s genes. Mothers who are in a state of stress during pregnancy are likely to have children susceptible to violence, fear and anger. By contrast, a mother who practices gratitude daily will stimulate the genes responsible for oxytocin and serotonin, and go on to have healthier, happier babies.
Gratitude and Materialism: Children
Speaking of children, those who were asked to create gratitude lists became less materialistic and more in tune with the world around them. This powerful observation was further demonstrated by the story of a young girl who kept a gratitude journal and as a result, went on to set up a charity for orphaned children around the world.
Gratitude and Accountability: Friends and Family
It’s easy to fall off when maintaining a daily gratitude practice. To help counter this, join forces with a friend, partner or a loved one, and text each other to confirm when your gratitude practice is complete. Think of it as keeping up with the Jones’ (if he/she’s done it, I must do it).
Mindfulness & Gratitude
Being mindful as you think about what you’re grateful for sets you up for success.
Journalling: List five things you’re grateful for, or one thing you can deeply elaborate on.
Family photo’s: Place photos of your family where you will see them often. Each time you see a photo, think of three things about that person, you are grateful for.
Gratitude visit / hand-written letter: Pay someone a visit to say you’re grateful for them or write to them. Notice how it makes you feel afterward.
The key to gratitude is time and effort – biological changes cannot happen if you are disengaged.
I hope you can now incorporate a daily gratitude practice into your life. The more we practice saying thank you, the more we benefit from it.
As always, pushing for health.