We were watching a good old classic last night called ‘America’s Sweethearts’. There’s this hilarious recurring mantra that the character of John Cusack often repeats as instructed by his Guru from the Wellness Centre: “I’m grateful for the sun. I’m grateful for the moon. I’m grateful for the cool night breeze”. The whole thing is meant as a bit of a mockery and it certainly serves as a great laugh, but it prompted us in the process to look into the whole idea of gratitude a bit further.
What we found is that the field of positive psychology has been heavily researching gratitude for decades now and it turns out that it’s not a load of BS at all…
The science of gratitude:
- Feeling grateful activates the region of the brain that produces dopamine. And dopamine makes us feel good. What’s more is that merely searching for things we are grateful for increases serotonin in the brain, and serotonin also makes us feel good.
- When we feel good, all of the learning centres in our brain are turned on and we can work harder, faster, and smarter. In fact, it’s now known that when our brain is in a positive state, we are 31% more productive than when it is at negative, neutral, or stressed.
Research has shown that when we make a habit of actively acknowledging aspects in our life that we are grateful for, we literally become more alert, enthusiastic, determined, attentive, and optimistic. We even improve our sleep, immunity, and energy levels. This is pretty significant, especially since 90% of our long term happiness is predicted not by our external world but by the way our brain processes our external world. So what are you waiting for? Try this gratitude app or one of these gratitude journals to kick start that habit today.