Gratitude. It’s a small word but oh, so powerful. People who are grateful notice what’s good in their lives and are thankful for it.
Some people are naturally optimistic and positive. Others are more negative. The good news is that gratitude is not a genetic predetermined trait, it can be learned!
Research shows that people who count their blessings on a regular basis became happier as a result and experience more feelings of joy. Counting our blessings regularly can not only improve our moods but also our health and longevity.
To be human means we will experience challenges, but grateful people focus on what’s working and what they have been blessed with. They will be happier, have more friends, be healthier and be fun to be around. People will gravitate towards grateful people because they will be attracted to their bright energy. Grateful people have an aura of positivity. People are drawn to them like bees to honey.
Martin Seligman (the father of positive psychology) noticed that when someone is unable to appreciate good events, and overemphasises bad or unfortunate experiences, it greatly affects their ability to flourish, be calm and be happy.
Dr. Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier has proved that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He explains that , to say we feel grateful is not to say everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of the good that is already present in one’s life.
Of course even if we recognise gratitude’s benefits, it’s difficult to feel grateful when we’re going through a difficult time. We’ve all heard people say, “I can’t help it,” “or “It’s not my fault I’m a negative person.” However, the good news is that although we do have genetic predispositions, we also, have the potential to change!
Neuroplasticity is a way of saying our brains can change. This means we are not simply victims of our neurons or genes. Our brains are made up of billions of neurons. Neurons attach to one another, forming pathways that send out information. We learn by forming neural connections in response to associations in our everyday experiences. The more we practice something, the more we strengthen the pathway, and the easier the skill becomes.
Once we consciously decide to be more positive, the brain circuits that processed our old pessimistic way of thinking will begin to fade, like the way a muscle weakens if you stop using it. And as we work on our new grateful attitude, new circuits will be created in the brain that ‘wire in’ our new way of thinking so the healthier positive attitude will becomes habitual.
Think yourself positive, practice more gratitude, reshape your brain and live a richer fuller life!