亚洲第一欧美的日产Thanksgiving is a weird fabricated holiday that has itsorigins in genocide. However, giving thanks – or said another way – expressing gratitude,is wildly beneficial for the brain. There have been a variety of studiesexhibiting this, including on participants seeking mental health treatment.
亚洲第一欧美的日产In one study, the group that wrote a letter of gratitude to someoneeach week for three weeks had significant better mental health at four and twelveweeks compared to the control group and a group who wrote about their deepestthoughts and feelings about negative experiences. In other words, doing justseveral sessions of gratitude had a persistent emotional improvement for monthsafter doing it.
Gratitude inherently has more positive words and feelings associatedwith it. Specifically, the association with using fewer negative words seemedto contribute to the results above. As someone who can spiral with negativity veryeasily (pain, loss, sadness, anxiety, etc.), this is very interesting.
Oh, and the participants still felt the benefits ofgratitude when they didn’t even send the letter they wrote to the intendedrecipient. However, my personal experience with expressing gratitude to someoneI care about is scary, yet it is the very definition of ordinary courage thatBrene Brown talks about in “The Gifts of Imperfection”. Doing so strengthensthe connection and bond with that person.
Expressing gratitude promotes more positive thinking andless negative thinking. It’s difficult to do in the throes of suffering, whichis why I recommend dedicating time to express gratitude. Today is a perfectopportunity to start, but it shouldn’t happen once a year. Regularlycontemplate what you’re grateful for and explore why. I find journaling to be agreat time to do this because it allows a better organization of thoughts andis a deliberate practice. Set time aside for gratitude as it will havemonumental effects.
While there are immediate effects of doing this – such asimproving acute emotions – the full benefit takes time to develop. Behavioraland thought habits rarely change instantaneously; to make something a habit youhave to make it a habit. Also, brain adaptations don’t spontaneously occur. Youmust expose your physiology to the new stimulus and function for it to adapt. Thereare literal structural neural adaptations occurring in the brain resulting fromexpressing gratitude.
fMRI supports this. Gratitude activates regions of the brainassociated with learning, rational thinking, and decision making. There areregions of the brain that interact with each other for given tasks. Negativeemotions yield a particular circuitry connection while positive emotions likegratitude and compassion result in a different kind of network connection.Coupled with a difference in neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), there areno-shit changes to how the brain functions as well adaptations that result fromthis improved networking. This isn’t just a matter of feelings; you canliterally change and improve the form and function of the brain. All from simpletasks like gratitude journaling.
If we can do things in our day that improve our brainphysiology resulting in hundreds of improvements to include disease prevention,then why wouldn’t we regularly do those tasks in the same way we exercise forour hearts, blood vessels, and muscles?
Pretty fucking good question, huh?