As we honor our fallen service men and women this Memorial Day, it is the perfect time to recognize the power of feeling and expressing gratitude. Being grateful for the wonderful things in your life literally helps you have a brain to be grateful for!
- A SPECT study that we performed found that practicing gratitude causes real brain changes that enhance brain function and mood. Conversely, the study also showed how negative thoughts deactivate certain brain regions associated with motor and thought coordination. Negative thinking can cause you to be clumsier and less able to think your way out of problems.
- People who practice gratitude on a daily basis get better sleep and have less anxiety and depression, according to a study from China.
- Yet another study from U.S. showed that young adults who used a daily gratitude journal experienced more determination and better attention, enthusiasm, and energy compared to a group of young adults who did not use a gratitude journal.
Learning how to spin negative thoughts into positive ones can take some practice, so here are two fantastic exercises that will help you get started:
Exercise #1 – Gratitude Journal
In a notebook or journal, write down 5 things you are grateful for every day. Do this upon waking in the morning or 30 minutes before going to sleep at night. The act of writing will help to solidify the feeling of gratitude in your brain and can help you feel happier almost instantly!
Exercise #2 – The Glad Game
No matter what situation you are in, try to find something to be glad about. To practice, think back and recall a difficult or disappointing situation when started to think negatively, but then found a “silver lining.” Now, retell that story from your “glad” standpoint. What did you find to be glad about the situation after all?
At Amen Clinics, we want to help you understand your brain and improve your life. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.