I’d been pondering what to write for the Thanksgiving newsletter, and in a fortuitous moment, my husband and I were listening to the radio when an NPR segment called “The Pulse” began discussing the
science of gratitude
. Needless to say, I was grateful for that!
Here is some of what I learned…Glenn Fox is a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California who studies the effect of gratitude on the brain and body. He’s found that “Grateful people tend to recover faster from trauma and injury… They tend to have better and closer personal relationships and may even just have improved health overall.” Practicing gratitude daily helps create stronger social bonds and trust. It has been shown to decrease blood pressure and improve heart health. It provides relief from stress and emotional pain.
The benefits of gratitude can be achieved by a daily practice (e.g. meditation and journaling). A daily practice can cause long lasting changes in the brain. It is like a muscle that can be strengthened over time.
The practice of gratitude does not equate to finding happiness. It puts the world around you in perspective and teaches you to be more thoughtful and open-minded. It can’t erase pain or hard emotions, but it will teach you that these are part of your life as well, and this life is what we are most grateful for.