You’ve heard these before:

-Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

-Learn to embrace and be thankful for what you have right now.

-Gratitude is the foundation of all abundance.

And it’s true.

Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia. It means having grace, graciousness and gratefulness. Gratitude encompasses our ability to connect to goodness in our lives, whether it’s tangible or intangible. It allows for us all to connect to something bigger than ourselves. That could mean connecting with other people, a higher power or even nature.

And science agrees. There is a connection and impact of gratitude on your brain and happiness and causes positive brain changes when through gratitude practice.

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, expressing gratitude on a regular basis literally changes the molecular structure of the brain.

Here’s how it works:

When you feel happy, your central nervous system is impacted. You are more peaceful, less reactive, and less resistant. And in this study, gratitude is the most effective practice for stimulating feelings of happiness. Gratitude ultimately keeps the gray matter in our brains functioning, making us healthier and happier.

Numerous studies hail the benefits of gratitude. Gratitude increases willpower, helps keep you calm and even boosts morale at work. Some studies even point to how gratitude improves your most intimate relationships. When you feel comfortable expressing gratitude with your partner, you also feel more comfortable expressing concerns in the relationship. It allows for more communication and problem solving to bring you closer to the one you love.

With that said, here are a few ideas to keep that gratitude going and to support you in making it a habit:

-Write down several things you are grateful for every day. This works great in the morning when you journal, and even at night before you go to bed. The impact cultivates gratitude and has lasting effects. Make it a daily practice to keep you focused on gratitude.

-Consciously tell a partner, child or friend something you appreciate about them every day.

-It also works if you simply thank someone mentally. Reminding yourself of something nice that someone has done for you and thanking them mentally is a practice of gratitude as well.

-During a daily task such as showering, cooking or driving to work, remind yourself to think of one thing you appreciate about yourself. It could be your courage for speaking up, how you kept your cool when something upset you, or completing a monumental task that you’d been avoiding.

-Write a thank you note to someone. Handwritten thank you notes make a difference. It takes extra effort to appreciate someone via regular mail. Writing it down activates your gratitude and impacts the person receiving the note.

-Prayer and meditation cultivate gratitude. Thanking God for your blessings, or practicing mindful meditation has you focus on the present moment allowing for more gratitude.

Practice makes perfect and will rewire your brain for happiness.

During this time of not knowing, face masks, social distancing, political fighting, even in the midst of all that … what you are grateful for today?

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Related Articles:
20 Principles for a Happy Life
Happiness Is A Choice


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