Gratitude practice is an incredibly simple, yet scientifically proven way to improve mental and physical wellbeing .
It's one of the most effective strategies there is to reduce stress, and takes very little effort or time
Gratitude practicing is basically the act of purposely thinking of things you appreciate or are grateful for, and making a habit of doing this on a regular basis
It works by creating new 'patterns' ", or brain connections which literally rewire the brain
Human brains are weighted to focus on negative thoughts - this is a survival mechanism to ensure we stay aware of dangers (ie looking out for tigers in the bush when we're out walking, rather than assuming everything is safe)
Yet in a world where we're bombarded constantly by mostly negative information (news, social media etc), these negative thoughts can take over, and create a feedback loop of stress and catastrophising
Fortunately research shows us that it's possible to change these feedback loops to positive ones - which takes the power of the negative thoughts away.
By gratitude practicing, we are re - routing a river - and just like negative thoughts, the positive ones become progressively more powerful the more you practice them!
It's like a workout for your brain
Gratitude practicing :
Triggers the release of 'happy' hormones (serotonin & dopamine)
Reduces pain levels (via dopamine release )
Improves sleep (via activation of the hypothalamus
Reduces cortisol (stress hormone)
Grows the grey matter (brain cells) in the 'gratitude area' (right anterior temporal cortex) making gratitude progressively easier each time
Reduces anxiety and depression (through release of happiness hormones and activating the parasympathetic nervous system)
It literally makes you happier!!
If you're new to this, gratitude practicing is pretty simple
Think of 3 things you're grateful for as soon as you wake up
If you find yourself in a negative space, think of 3 things that you appreciate
If you feel overwhelmed, think of one or two things that make you happy
Try setting a goal of doing it daily for a 30 day challenge