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How Expressing Gratitude Might Rewire Your Brain To Be Happier



How often are your thoughts negative? Quite possibly more often than they are Positive. The more Negative our thoughts, the more negative we become as a whole. Eventually we end up sour and bitter and negative about everything in our life.

A brain-scanning study in NeuroImage by The Indiana University had some interesting results from a basic and short gratitude writing task;

Prathik Kini led researchers in a recent study about Gratitude and our brains. Each of the 43 subjects were diagnosed as anxious and depressed. They were all asked to write a thank you letter to someone in their lives. Three months later they all had their brains scanned, and during those scans they were asked to imagine being given a large amount of money.

Each participant was asked if they would like to donate some of the money they had been “given” to charity. Those who agreed to make a donation had different brain pattern activity than those who opted not to donate at all.

Even more interesting was: “The participants who’d completed the gratitude task months earlier not only reported feeling more gratefulness two weeks after the task than members of the control group, but also, months later, showed more gratitude-related brain activity in the scanner.”

These effects were described by the studies researchers as ‘profound’ and ‘long-lasting’ and as ‘particularly noteworthy’. The brain pattern activity suggests that by expressing and practicing thanks and gratitude, we are able to adapt our brains and be more positive overall, the more gratitude is practiced the more attuned we become to it and we are then able to benefit from the psychological effect it gives.

It needs to be noted, however, this result is incredibly preliminary as baseline brain scans of the participants were not conducted.

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