Your Brain and Gratitude: Less Fear-More Happiness
Powerful Effects of Gratitude on the Brain
Are you currently plagued with worry and fear about what may happen in the coming days? Though we cannot change many of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can change how we respond to them. Numerous studies on the effects of thankfulness on the brain have revealed its powerful capabilities to redirect our emotions, so much so, that it alone has changed the course of people’s lives from depression to happiness.
Alex Korb, PHD, author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, has made these statements in his book regarding the practice of gratitude:
This is a potent antidote to negativity because it doesn’t depend on your life circumstances. Gratitude is a state of mind. The effect of gratitude is greatest in people with the highest levels of hopelessness. When everything appears bleak and meaningless, a little gratitude goes a long way.
Gratitude also reduces anxiety. The brain can only focus on so many things at once, so gratitude replaces those negative feelings and the worry evaporates.
Even if a situation is 90% what you don’t want, you can still be grateful for the other 10%.
With gratitude, it is often the searching for things to be grateful for that triggers the positive brain response – actually finding something to be grateful for is a bonus.
Freedom from Anxiety!
When we give and receive thanks, our brain releases the feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, which instantly cause internal feelings of wellness and happiness.
By practicing thankfulness daily, we can strengthen neural pathways and create a permanent grateful nature within ourselves. What this means is that we do not have to be enslaved to worry and fear anymore! By choosing thankfulness, we can escape that prison and enter the world of joy and peace. We all could certainly use more of that!
God, knowing how powerful thankfulness is to humans, tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
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