How Being Grateful Year Round Can Impact Your Mood

The holiday season can be an exciting and wondrous time of the year. It also can be a time filled with hassles and disappointments.

Many things can steal your joy during the holidays…if you let them. Regardless of the situation, you can control your reaction to life’s curveballs. How you deal with stressful or frustrating circumstances can either make you bitter or grateful.

Focus on Gratitude

Although being thankful is commonly associated with the holidays, there are significant health benefits to remaining grateful year-round. Did you know that practicing gratitude actually makes your brain work better? It causes significant changes to occur in your brain that can enhance function and make you feel better.

Research suggests that focusing on gratitude helps to calm the deep limbic areas and enhance the other judgment centers of your brain. People who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make better progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more helpful to others.

Living in a state of gratitude is more than just thanking someone for opening the door for you – although that’s a good thing to do. It’s about having an attitude of gratitude despite hardships or setbacks. Implementing these 6 habits can help you remain grateful during the holidays and throughout the year:

6 Tips for Remaining Grateful Year-round

1. Take a Timeout

You may feel pressure to be everything to everyone, but there’s only so much one person can accomplish. Increase your energy and stamina by giving yourself a timeout. We all need time to recharge our batteries and self-care is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Taking the time to reflect on what you’re grateful for can help reduce your stress and improve your mood.

2. Write It Down

One of the best ways to remain grateful is to write down five things you’re thankful for every day. Keeping a journal can be an enjoyable hobby as well as a great way to unwind after a stressful day. When you focus on what you love, your brain works better, and you’ll feel better. You should notice a significant increase in your level of happiness in a short period of time.

3. Relaxing Tunes

It’s no surprise that listening to music can increase pleasurable feelings, improve mood, boost energy, raise dopamine levels and help with focus and concentration. Remaining in a relaxed state of mind is easier to accomplish when you have a happy tune running through your head. Listen to brain enhancing music specifically composed to enhance mood, gratitude, motivation, and inspiration.

4. Put People First

Disconnect from technology, not people. Multiple research studies have indicated that spending too much time texting, browsing the internet and posting content on social media can lead to stress, sleeping disorders, anxiety and depression. On the flipside, spending time with positive people can have a dramatic impact on your health and habits. Be grateful for family, friends and other caring people in your life.

5. Boost Longevity

Expressing gratitude for the blessings you experience daily can help prolong your life. Although this sounds far too good to be true, different studies have indicated that gratitude can extend lifespan. Gratitude produces optimism which can lead to longevity. Do whatever you can to stay in a grateful state. Your future self thanks you.

6. Meditation and Relaxation

Taking breaks for meditation and relaxation can provide benefits for both your physical and mental health. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may help refresh your mind. Clearing your mind and slowing your breathing can help restore inner calm. Repeating simple words like “May I be safe and secure” can increase positive emotions and decrease negative ones. Loving Kindness Meditations (LKM) can promote gratitude and restore a positive outlook.

Gratitude and the Brain

Psychologist Noelle Nelson and Dr. Daniel Amen conducted a study on appreciation and gratitude. While working on her book, “The Power of Appreciation,” two SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) images were taken of Noelle’s brain. 30 minutes prior to her first scan, Noelle meditated on things she was thankful for in her life. Her brain looked very healthy after this “appreciation meditation.”

Several days later, Noelle was scanned after focusing on her major fears. Her fearful scan looked radically different than her meditation scan. Noelle had significantly decreased activity in her cerebellum and temporal lobes. The results of Noelle’s scans were striking. Thankful thoughts had a positive effect, while fearful thoughts had a negative effect on her brain.

Many people have experienced improved mood, increased energy, and optimized brain function after getting brain SPECT imaging at one of the Amen Clinics. By discovering your specific brain type, we can create a tailored solution for you. We’re committed to treating our patients with the least toxic, most effective regimen possible.

Our Full Evaluation of your biological/psychological/social/spiritual history, coupled with two brain SPECT imaging scans (in concentrating and resting states), cognitive testing, and clinical assessment is designed to address unique needs and offer targeted treatment options.

For more information on how brain SPECT imaging can provide a customized treatment plan for you or a loved one, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. Thank you very much as your instructions are so helpful in fulfilling purpose thank you very much.

    Comment by William Parent — December 28, 2018 @ 6:51 AM

  2. If a SPECT scan can change from “healthy” to “radically different” based on what the subject thought about during the half hour prior to the scan, how can any diagnosis be made from a SPECT scan? It would seem that a scan would just be a snapshot at a point in time and would not be very useful if it can be so affected by the 30 minutes of differing thoughts. I’m open to learning more.

    Comment by Question — December 28, 2018 @ 5:48 PM

  3. I agree + adding worship to our daily regimen does even more! I’d love to test SPECT with this. I added worship to my daily quiet time and it would take a book to explain how my life changed! I’m 62 and people always comment on my energy, love, joy and passion for life. Worship adds so much joy and gratitude for God and others! Just 15-30 minutes changed everything for me. I have more joy than would seem humanly possible and adding worship to my daily routine is the only thing I can attribute it to!! I did not have this before adding worship to my daily plan for life.

    Comment by peggi merkey — December 29, 2018 @ 6:05 AM

  4. Thank you for this wonderful information!

    Comment by Doug Morris — November 10, 2023 @ 3:18 PM

  5. wonderful topic!

    Comment by Doug Morris — November 11, 2023 @ 5:28 PM

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    Comment by Lucy — November 15, 2023 @ 8:41 PM

  7. Interestingly, one aspect of the Christian spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola from the 1500s is to look for the gift and grace each day. It is a way to give gratitude to God. Doing so, helps us to balamce the events of each day, even those that were challenging or stressful. I have found this to be a helpful practice.

    Comment by Fr. David Begany — November 17, 2023 @ 9:15 AM

  8. I completely agree with you on all of your ideas. I try to each of these each day and I do find a difference in how I feel. Thank you helping not only me but more people than you know. Keep up the great work and please continue to publish useful tools like these. I am very thankful for your programs that you have.

    Comment by Sharon Costello — November 17, 2023 @ 8:11 PM

  9. Thank you for sharing. It is highly influencial.

    Comment by Dina Mansour Aly — November 18, 2023 @ 9:25 PM

  10. excellent post!

    Comment by Doug Morris — November 19, 2023 @ 6:17 PM

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