“Think positive and positive things will happen to you.” We have heard this sentence hundreds of times. It may seem like a cliché, but it is true. Negative thoughts and feelings can create a change in our brain and we will become pre-conditioned to believe that everything that happens to us is bad and the world is a dark place with no ray of hope in it.
On the other hand, neuroscientists discovered that being grateful can create changes in your brain and rewire it to expect positive outcomes and as a result, you will be happier.
A study from Indiana University team of researchers, led by Pratik Kini, found 43 participants dealing with anxiety and depression and they told them to write a letter of gratitude and thank all the people in their life and then, 3 months later, the researchers scanned their brain. During the brain scan, the participants were told to imagine they were receiving a large amount of money.
Then, they asked them if they wanted to donate the money to charity to show gratitude. The researchers noticed that those people who said they wanted to donate the money had a different pattern of brain activity than those people who didn’t. But, the amazing part was that those participants who finished the gratitude task months earlier were not only feeling more grateful than the members of the control group but also they had more gratitude-related brain activity.
The researchers said that the “long-lasting” and “profound” neural effects are especially noteworthy.
This discovery suggests that the more grateful we are, the more we can train our brain to be grateful and expect positive outcomes. As the psychologist, Christian Jarret says, “The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.”
There you go! Start practicing gratitude today. Be grateful for all the things and people you have in your life. Be grateful for having yet another day to live. Be grateful for waking up. Be grateful for every flower, every plant, every cup of coffee. Enjoy the little things in life and you will see how your life will take a positive turn.