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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 17, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

1. Spend Time with Positive People

If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

3. Contribute to the Community

One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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Some recommendations for you:

5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

8. Offer Compliments to Others

Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

10. Practice Self-Care

Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

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Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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