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How Practicing Gratitude Can Change Your Brain And Life

How Practicing Gratitude Can Change Your Brain And Life

I’m sure you have heard the latest craze about practicing gratitude every day. Do you find yourself wondering what’s so special about practicing gratitude? Have you ever wondered how practicing gratitude can change your brain and your life? If so, you’re in for a treat.

I practice gratitude every day. I do it as soon as I wake up and before I go to bed. Why? Well, for starters, it makes you grateful for all that you have and diminishes every day frustrations we may encounter.

To take it a step further, gratitude can actually change your brain. Here’s how.

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The Science Behind Gratitude

You may have heard of the saying, “Those who play together, stay together.” It’s basically the same for your brain and gratitude. Here’s why:

Within your brain is an assortment of synapses that are separated by an empty space. This empty space is called the synaptic cleft. When you have a thought or an emotion, one synapse shoots a chemical across the empty space to another synapse, which in turn creates a bridge where an electrical signal can cross.

Let’s take it a step further. When this electrical charge is triggered again, the synapses grow closer together. In a sense, your brain is changing and rewiring itself to make it easier for you to process that thought (in this case: gratitude).

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So gratitude is like a brain muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it becomes.

Gratitude Can Change Your Life

It’s hard nowadays to know what you’re reading is trustworthy. With respect to practicing gratitude and how it can change your life, please grant yourself permission to trust. It’s worth it.

Gratitude can change your life in the following ways:

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1. Opens Doors to Relationships

When you take a moment to express appreciation for other people, such as a simple, “Thank you”, it can help you create new friendships.

2. Physical Health Improvements

Turns out people who regularly practice gratitude experience fewer aches and pains. They also report feeling healthier than their peers.

3. Boost in Psychological Health

The practice of gratitude can combat toxic emotions. Some of these emotions may include envy, resentment, regret, and downright frustration. A gratitude practice is shown to effectively increase happiness and help ward off depression.

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4. Gratitude Can Help You Sleep Better

When you take a moment to express gratitude before bed, it can actually help you sleep better. When you take a moment to express gratitude before your head hits the pillow, you fill your mind with appreciation and forget the nuisances of your day-to-day routine.

5. Kickstart Your Self-Esteem

Gratitude helps reduce the need to compare to others, which in turn gives you a boost in your self-esteem.

Conclusion

We all should take the opportunity to start a practice of gratitude in our lives. By taking a few minutes every morning and evening to focus and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for and to appreciate those in your life, you can begin changing your life. Not only will you rewire your brain, but you will also open the door to future relationships, improve your physical and psychological well-being, improve your sleep quality, and boost your self-esteem.

More by this author

Tara Massan

Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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