Inspired from an article by Eric Barker and neuroscience researcher Alex Korb
Sometimes we get into these “moods” and it feels like our whole being has a desire to stay stuck in a negative emotion. We know we aren’t being our best versions of ourself, but can’t seem to shift back into positivity, peace, and calm.
The best thing to ask yourself:
What am I grateful for?
Gratitude affects your brain at the biological level. Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine.
The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable…
Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin.
One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.
Sometimes life gets really messy and negative and it’s hard to find one thing to be grateful for – and guess what, it doesn’t matter – it’s the slowing down to think about gratitude.
It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.
Gratitude is a ripple effect – it helps you feel happier and, if you express gratitute to other people in your life, it extends into those relationships.