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Scientists Show: Gratitude Alters the Human Heart & the Molecular Structure of the Brain

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According to a study done last year by the UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre, having an attitude of gratitude helps change the brain’s molecular structure and boosts the gray matter functioning.

In turn, we feel happier and healthier.

When we feel happy, our central nervous system is calmer, less resistant, and less reactive. What an awesome and easy way to improve your well-being, isn’t it?

But, what is gratitude and how do we practice it?

Gratitude Helps Us Become Happier & Healthier

Gratitude can differ from person to person-in some parts of the planet, a person is grateful for a pair of clean shows, a glass of water, and some food.

On the other hand, elsewhere, a person will literally have everything, yet they’ll always complain. They keep on obtaining material things thinking this is the key to happiness. But, happiness is more of an inside job.

Happiness and gratitude are more a matter of perspective- in a world we’re constantly made feel like we’re lacking something and needing more, it’s not easy to feel genuinely happy.

So, a lot of people believe it is the external factors that will make us satisfied; however, it has to do more with inner self.

The research notes that an attitude of gratitude is able to change our brain’s molecular structure and improve the gray matter functioning. It can help us become healthier and happier.

When we feel happy, our central nervous system is positively affected and we become less reactive, cooler, and calmer.

Various Studies Have Found Gratitude Beneficial

But, this isn’t the only study noting the importance of counting blessings to be less depressed and happier.

Namely, in one of these studies done by the University of California, Berkeley, the participants were people with mental health problems, including anxious and depressed individuals.

These nearly 300 adults were divided into 3 groups and each group had counselling services.

However, the first group had to write a letter of gratitude to another person every week for a period of three weeks.

The other group had to write down their deepest thoughts and emotions about their negative experiences. The third one had no writing assignments.

The end results showed that in comparison to the ones who wrote about their negative experiences or the ones who only had counselling, the ones who had counselling and wrote letters of gratitude had improved mental health for up to 12 weeks after the writing ended.

This finding, concluded the scientists, emphasizes the importance of gratitude writing not just for the healthy people, but ones who’re struggling with poor mental health as well.

How Does Gratitude Affect Our Body & Mind?

According to the Berkley research team, here’s how gratitude impacts our body and mind:

  • It releases us from toxic feelings
  • It helps us even if we don’t share it
  • It does take time and practice and not everyone can feel it right away
  • It has long-lasting influence on the brain

Knowing this, what are you grateful for today?

Sources:

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COLLECTIVE EVOLUTION

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