Whether you say it or write it, gratitude is one of the crucial points to happiness. Want to practice it in a creative way? Here’s a way to do it. Write down what you’re grateful for or say it out loud. Express it through a song. There are plenty of ways to express the attitude of gratitude.
It’s common knowledge that gratitude is the key to happiness. Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston and best-selling author, says, “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness. It’s right in front of me if I pay attention and practice gratitude.”
In fact, research shows that people who make a habit of being grateful are happier, better able to handle stress and less likely to be depressed. Even more interesting is how gratitude affects our minds and bodies.
Your brain about gratitude
Your brain is something like the boss of your body. It’s in charge and controls everything you do, even your emotions. So when you start counting your blessings, it affects different parts of your brain.
Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Medial Prefrontal Cortex
An experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California provides insight into the brain activity of subjects who were induced to feel gratitude by receiving gifts.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex – areas of the brain associated with moral and social perception, reward, empathy and value judgments.
The hypothalamus sits in a part of your forebrain and is responsible for the fight or flight response. It regulates the release of hormones responsible for functions such as body temperature, emotional responses, appetite, and sleep. So it’s no wonder that gratitude has an impact on this part of the brain.
Feeling appreciated causes your brain to release dopamine, also known as the “feel good” hormone. Not only does it make you feel good, but it also has other effects on your body:
- Increasing blood flow
- Supporting digestion
- Improving memory and concentration
- Improving moods and emotions
- Pain management
- Promote better sleep
- Helps manage stress
Writing is healthy
Writing seems to be beneficial to your well-being. It can help you develop personally, express yourself creatively, and give you a sense of power and control. And a handful of studies have shown that acting out your emotions through writing can help lower stress levels.
Writing down your gratitude on a regular basis can change the way you see yourself and the way you see, treat and feel about others. The benefit: It’s free, easy, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Great changes begin with you
When it comes to your happiness, gratitude is the key. “Millions of people wake up every day with anxiety, stress or depression and are not trained to do anything about it. Simple practices like gratitude can increase happiness levels.
The art of being happy is not to ignore or not notice the negative or to resign yourself to the negative. Rather, you must learn to deal with it.