In order to enjoy better physical health, most us are already aware of the best formula, i.e. eat less junk food and work out more. And, the similar can be said for happiness. Even though mental health is without doubt quite complex, research indicates that cultivating gratitude is one of the best ways to feel better.
According to the author of the study and a Harvard researcher, Shawn Achor, as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for today for 21 days can make you more optimistic and this effect will continue in the next six months.
What’s more, there are other studies which have linked gratitude with higher willpower, more calmness, and increase in employee morale.
Counting Our Blessings Is Important
To test why it’s so good to remind ourselves of the good things in life, a team of researchers from the Indiana University recruited 43 individuals diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
Half of the participants had a gratitude exercise to perform- write ‘thank u’ letters to the people in their lives. Three months later, all of the participants underwent a brain scan.
During these brain scans, they were told that someone has given them a specific sum of money and were asked if they would like to donate some of the money to a charity as a way of expressing gratitude.
The ones who agreed with a donation experienced a unique activity pattern in their brains.
What’s more, they also felt more grateful two weeks afterwards unlike those from the control group. Months later, they also had more gratitude-related activity in their brain.
According to the scientists, this profound and long-term neural effect is very important.
Why We all Need to Practice more Gratitude?
The study result affects us all. Namely, it emphasizes that practicing gratitude makes our brain adjust to this new mindset.
So, the more grateful you are, the better you will feel. Counting our blessings helps us see the good things in life we have, but often fail to notice because we’re too busy obsessing with the things we don’t.
The more of these things we recognize, the happier and more fulfilled we can become.
Attuning to gratitude is crucial so that we can start reaping its benefits now!
So, what are you grateful for today?