How to Apply Gratitude for a Stronger Brain?

psychological business gratitude benefits

Gratitude is a powerful way to create a happy and positive mental state. How is this possible? There are several studies that prove that psychological business gratitude benefits can actually heal the brain. Explaining this is the UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. The center found that practicing gratitude keeps the gray matter functioning, without changing the brain’s molecular structure. As a result, the person becomes happier and healthier.

6 Psychological Business Gratitude Benefits 

To understand the real psychological business gratitude benefits, you need to understand your biology first. Any behavioral change is a result of the brain’s neural connections and signals sent thereof. The brain is also capable of neuroplasticity. It can change its physical structure and function based on the input from your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and experiences. So how does gratitude rewire the brain?

1. Gratitude makes you high.

One of the biggest psychological business gratitude benefits is the addictiveness to it, but not in a negative way. In a study conducted by Berkeley University, it was found that feelings of gratitude and acts of kindness activate dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward system. In other words, when you display gratitude, dopamine rewards you by making you feel high. You feel good, and because you feel good, you are motivated to do it again.

2. It decreases the pain level.

How can expressing gratitude change the way your brain responds to physical pain? It might seem like a far-fetched idea, but research has actually proven that it’s possible. 

In this study, ill patients were divided into three experimental conditions– gratitude listing, hassles, and neutral life. At the end of the study, the subjects showed a progress of 16%. All participants involved kept a gratitude journal regularly and showed reduced symptoms of pain. The same subjects are also more inclined to exercise.

3. It lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Studies on the psychological business gratitude benefits show an increase in happiness by at least 10%. And while keeping a business gratitude journal is not a medication replacement, it can be a great supplement.

As per one study, subjects suffering from anxiety and depression kept a gratitude journal. Later on, these journals showed significant behavioral changes in participants. Their MRI scans revealed a change in neural modulation and changes in the medial prefrontal cortex. As a result, subjects were more empathetic and positive. A Chinese study also found that gratitude can improve sleep and mood.

4. It increases vitality and energy.

A healthy mind really makes a healthy body. There are many studies that show how gratitude boosts the immune system. Studies also suggest that gratitude makes the heart healthier as well. Most surprisingly, though, it also increases energy, vitality, and life satisfaction. How?

In an article published in the Communication Association, there’s a connection between gratitude expression and one’s psychological and physical wellbeing. The immediate effects of gratitude include happiness, ease, optimism, etc. However, it can also contribute to long-term success in personal well-being and relationships. The writers likened its effects on vaccines and the immune system. If you regularly express gratitude (take vaccines), you can boost your overall well-being (immune system).

5. It improves hypothalamus function.

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for the regulation of several bodily functions. These include body temperature, appetite, sleep, metabolism, and growth. In studying the neuroscience of gratitude, the 2009 National Institutes of Health found that gratitude activates the hypothalamus. This means that gratitude can improve your metabolism, allow you to sleep better, increase appetite, and more.

6. It gives you a relief from stress.

Because gratitude activates the hypothalamus and gives you better sleep, you become more relaxed. In fact, you can effectively eliminate the emotional and physical stress happening at work. 

In one study, subjects learned to apply techniques which eliminate negative thoughts and promote positive emotions. These subjects helped with practicing gratitude altogether. The results showed a decrease in cortisol– a prominent stress hormone– in the subjects. This suggested that the practice had positive effects on stress, emotions, and other key physiological systems.

The Bottom Line

Gratitude has a powerful impact on your life because it can engage your brain in a virtuous cycle. How expressing gratitude might change your brain? It helps you focus on the positive stimuli, thus distracting you from the negative things that happen in your surroundings. Then dopamine reinforces this, and your brain starts to continue looking for things that you can be thankful for. Gratitude does not only make you happier, but it also improves your well-being.

Expressing gratitude for business and other aspects of your life requires practice. The same goes for applying all psychological business gratitude benefits. However, the more you do it, the easier the process will get. So, if you want to reap all psychological business gratitude benefits, the best day to start practicing it is now.