Gratitude Today; A Better Brain Tomorrow

Gratitude Today; A Better Brain Tomorrow
Julie Wilson, MA
LAMP Advocate
 
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It’s the one day we surround ourselves with people we love and who love us, delicious good food, fun and relaxation. It’s the one day that we intentionally count our blessings and give thanks. And that can make us feel loving and kind and happy. Then, the next day, we’re fighting traffic on the road and shoppers in the stores; the loving, kind and happy feelings are gone.
 
But, new science tells us that gratitude can have long term benefits – with regular, intentional practice. Dr. Robert A. Emmons, PhD and his colleagues at the University of California Davis studied more than 1,000 people, ages 8 to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits – all of which are particularly good for our brain health:
Physical
  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Exercise more and take better care of their health
  • Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
Psychological
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy and pleasure
  • More optimism and happiness
Social
  • More helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • More forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated.
 
Additionally, Dr. Emmons reports that gratitude allows us to:
  • celebrate the present rather than worrying about the future or regretting the past
  • blocks toxic, negative emotions (there’s even evidence, including a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.)
  • increases our resilience to stress
 
Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to give thanks. Comment below and tell us why you’re grateful today (and every day if you wish) to spread the loving, kind and happy and make it last.
 
 
Sources:
  • Greater Good in Action: The Science of a Meaningful Life e-newsletter. Nov. 16, 2010. Robert Emmons, PhD.
  • Dr. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology

 
 

Comments (8)

  • Tracy lightburne

    Tracy lightburne

    08 November 2016 at 05:36 | #

    I'm thankful to work with such an amazing person as Julie Wilson! She's an outstanding woman and I love doing our brain health journey together!

    reply

  • Michelle Coffey

    Michelle Coffey

    08 November 2016 at 08:23 | #

    I am grateful for these beautiful cool evenings that are perfect for an after dinner walk.

    reply

    •  Marci Nauman

      Marci Nauman

      08 November 2016 at 08:25 | #

      Yes! It's been GORGEOUS outside!

      reply

  • Mimi Tran

    Mimi Tran

    19 December 2016 at 07:47 | #

    I am thankful that I have so many things to be grateful for. Challenges are just opportunities. It's your choice and perspective. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy day, everyday!

    reply

  • Lesleigh Johnson

    Lesleigh Johnson

    19 December 2016 at 08:22 | #

    I'm thankful for a loving family and pets that give so much love back!

    reply

  • Angelita Ortiz

    Angelita Ortiz

    20 December 2016 at 10:43 | #

    I am thankful for my health which makes me happy and keep me moving. This attitude help me spread cheers and hope to everyone I come in contact with. Makes me a better listener which is what some people need to let go of things.

    Marry Christmas everyone!

    reply

  • Melissa

    Melissa

    04 January 2017 at 07:54 | #

    I am most thankful for my loving, supportive husband John. I have recently had some health problems and he has been there every step of the way, right by my side, helping me get through the tough times. I wish I could say more about this amazing man but I think you've got it. I'm lucky & very thankful!

    reply

  • Sheila Parker

    Sheila Parker

    04 January 2017 at 08:33 | #

    I'm grateful for work that I enjoy

    reply

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