Living In Gratitude: Gratitude Literally Alters Our Heart & Brain

An article authored by Arjun Walla shared some interesting scientific information backing what we always knew: gratitude literally impacts us on a molecular level.

According to the article, scientists have discovered that feelings of gratitude can actually change your heart and brain. Feeling gratitude can also be a great tool for overcoming depression and anxiety. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the heart sends signals to the brain.

There are those people with seemingly very little who are overwhelmed with gratitude for a warm meal, rudimentary shelter, or some used clothing while so many of us who have all so much are always in search of more things to make us happy and fulfilled rather than appreciating what we have.

In a world where emotional intelligence isn’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s no wonder so many people have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the western world, which is full of consumerism and competition, a world where we’re constantly made to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more.

Says Walla, happiness is a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness when really it’s all related to internal work. This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC).

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Living In Gratitude: Science Says Do These 11 Things Daily To Be Happier & More Productive

It’s a safe assumption to say that all of us want to be happy. But did you know that in addition to feeling lighthearted and content, happiness also boosts our personal productivity?

Science has proven that happy people accomplish more.

And, there are simple, scientifically proven things we can do daily to increase our happiness quotient.

1. Smile more

A genuine smile make us feel good. Smiling enhances our mood, increasing our attention and focus while reducing stress, especially during challenging times. A true smile involves our entire face, reaching and including our eyes.

Science shows smiling is beneficial:

“A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts–such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital–improve their mood and withdraw less.”

2. Exercise for 7 minutes

Exercise has an overwhelming impact on our happiness and well-being. Even a small, daily dose can dramatically enhance happiness. We can all find time to squeeze in 7 minutes to take a brisk walk, bust out some jumping jacks or dance to our favorite song.

Exercise can help you relax, increase your brainpower, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies even when they saw no physical changes. Read more