Offering Gratitude brings changes in brain?
Updated: Mar 23
We are living in an era where we believe in Evidence based science. As humans we have always been need based creatures. Humans have done those activities that have benefited them. Since the time when human race began their lived monks, prominent religious figures, philosophers, spiritual gurus and enlightened souls. All have advised to live a meaningful life and to explore self. To find real nature of self and to discover who we are. All have paid gratitude to every creature on this earth for whatever they have gained. All Enlightened ones have paid gratitude for every single thing they got for livelihood. It is said Buddhists monks seek alms and purpose is to pay gratitude to those who offers alms and thus they provide opportunity to people be generous and compassionate. It is practiced as a symbol of learning to give and let go.
Do you remember last time when have you been thankful for smart phones without which life is impossible?
When did you thank for air conditioners those provides majestic comfort?
How many times have you been thankful to god when you had food?
How many times have you been thankful to the one who cooks food for you?
How many times have you been thankful for this efficiently engineered body?
I know you need to recollect hard!
The Bitter fact is we don’t practice to be thankful. We do not learn to offer gratitude. We do not like to generous. All we want is to become dominant and prominent!
I came across thought provoking articles “The Grateful Brain” and “How Expressing Gratitude Rewires Your Brain for the Better” based on research studies, here are some excerpts.
This is how brain responds to Gratitude:
National institute of health (NIH) researchers have measured the blood flow in various regions of brain when subjects summons the feeling of gratitude. They found those who showed more gratitude have significant activity in hypothalamus. Hypothalamus is part of limbic system (brain region that is responsible for generating emotions) and is responsible for functions like sleep, hunger, metabolism etc. Furthermore, feelings of gratitude directly activates the regions those release dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and is responsible for initiating actions. So it makes the actions of paying gratitude more frequent.
It also activates those areas of brain which causes release of serotonin (chemical responsible for mood balance). Lack of serotonin produces depressions. Paying gratitude can be said as natural antidepressant. It is said “what we put our attention on grows”. So more we practice more it gets wires.
Harvard researcher and author Shawn Achor told Inc.com: “Something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months. The research is amazing.”
In another study conducted in Indian university on 43 participants, 22 were subjected to write a letter of gratitude for 20 min for three session of weekly counselling. It was up to participant to post letter or not. After 3 months when counselling was over , they were subjected to brain scans and each were given an amount of money from benefactor and were asked if they would like to offer gratitude and gift some donating amount to either person on name of charity. Rest of the remaining attended counselling session without gratitude task. Results were significant all who gave away the money showed distinct pattern in parietal, occipital and frontal regions.
Enough that science has showed neural response to gratitude, now we should be intelligent enough to decide what to do!
I have started with a gratitude diary. Have you?