According To Neuroscience Gratitude Will Keep You Happy

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By Mayukh Saha

Being happy is a life goal all of us harbour in the deepest corners of our hearts. We know that when we find it in ourselves to be thankful for something, happiness will come our way.

According to a research conducted at Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA, if you feel grateful for things that you have in your life, it has a profound effect on your brain at a structural level. This change assures the smooth functioning of the grey cells of your brain and keeps your happiness levels high.

On a physiological level, when you are happy, your central nervous system is affected. You feel calmer and do not react to things explosively.

Research is a gift that keeps giving. Through this article, allow me to familiarise you with the kind of research that digs deeper into everything I just discussed so that you can be happier and more relaxed in your day-to-day life.

One of these studies was conducted at The University of California, Davis, by Robert A Emmons and his friend from The University of Miami, Mike McCullough. This study involved three groups and each of these groups had to maintain different kinds of journals; one that recorded what they were thankful for, one that recorded things that had been bothering them and the other one were asked to note down things that were neutral.

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It was seen that the first group was significantly happier than the other group and even exercised more. There was a second study headed by Emmons where he also found that people who made it a point to be grateful about things had been better friends and partners to the people around them.

There was another similar study conducted, but this one dealt with people suffering from neuromuscular diseases and post-polio syndrome. They were again asked to make sure that their thankfulness was evident and also make it a point to thank people around them. These people were in pain but being grateful and making sure people around them knew how grateful they were, made them happier and they felt more at peace.

Some researchers in China, after doing similar research found out that being thankful for things and people around you makes for a good night’s sleep and keeps you mentally as well as emotionally healthy.

It has also been observed that when people did not find it in themselves to be more grateful there were higher levels of mental illnesses like depression and BPD.

Being thankful is not rocket science. It may seem like it is not a lot but we do have a ton of things to be thankful for on a daily basis. If you have been feeling dissatisfied for a long time now, maybe you need some pointers. Let me tell you a few steps that you could adapt to be more thankful and find the best way to be happier and stable.

Firstly, develop a journaling habit. At the end of the day, sit down with it and start listing things that have made you want to stop and send a thanks to the Universe. After you are done, read through what you wrote. It will serve as a reminder and tell you that even if things are not always the way you want them to be, you will still have something or the other to be grateful for.

Secondly, call your girlfriend or your best bud and tell them that you are thankful for them. Kiss your partner because they always have your back.

And thirdly, check yourself out every now and then and remind yourself of all your achievements, no matter how small or how big.

And I am sure you will lead a more content and happy life!


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