Neuroscience Reveals How Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to Be Happier

We are often advised to be grateful in order to bring positivity in life, but scientists have bow proven that gratitude literally transforms our brain.

UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center explains that by regularly expressing gratitude, one can literally change the molecular structure of the brain, since it will support the function of the gray matter and make us happier and healthier.

Gratitude is the best way to stimulate feelings of happiness, which affect the nervous system and bring positivity and peace.

Robert A. Emmons at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami conducted a 10-week study to evaluate the effects of gratitude.

Participants were given one of three tasks, and they all kept a journal each week. The first group was asked to depict things they were grateful for, the second wrote about things that annoyed them, and the last group was asked to write about neutral events.

Findings showed that participants in the gratitude group felt 25 percent better than the others, and had exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

Another study involved adults suffering from congenital and adult-onset neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), most of them, suffering from post-polio syndrome (PPS). It found that participants who expressed gratitude felt more refreshed after waking up and felt more connected with others.

Researchers from Northeastern University have discovered that people who felt grateful for little, everyday things, were able to make sensible decisions as they were more patient, in comparison to individuals who didn’t feel very gracious on a day-to-day basis.

A group of Chinese researchers showed that higher levels of gratitude were linked to better sleep, and lower anxiety and depression rates.

To enjoy the benefits of gratitude, follow these practical steps:

  • Keep a journal daily, and write down at least three things you are grateful for before you go to sleep
  • Every morning, while brushing your teeth, think about something you have done well recently
  • Every day, tell your friend or partner something you appreciate about them

Gratitude has countless benefits, and besides a higher happiness set-point, it will also:

  • Improve your sleep
  • Boost your productivity and creativity
  • Help you feel less isolated and more connected
  • Boost your energy levels and fight fatigue
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Help you experience a deeper relaxation
  • Help you look and feel more attractive
  • Make it easier to bounce back from difficulty
  • Make you feel more confident and stronger
  • Improve your emotional equilibrium