What do you feel when you take a moment to be truly thankful and appreciative of someone or something?
The ‘warm and fuzzies’? A slowing of your breath and heart rate? A sense of grounded-ness and balance?
Do you smile so hard it hurts? Do you feel elated and ecstatic? Perhaps cry tears of joy?
If you experience one or more of these things, it’s likely that you are experiencing gratitude.
Gratitude is defined as a strong feeling of appreciation towards someone or something.
When we’re grateful, our brains unleash a rush of ‘happy chemicals’ by the names of dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine triggers the experience and duration of positive emotions. It contributes to feelings of motivation, happiness, and focus. It also plays a role in our blood vessel function, movements, and heart rate.
Serotonin plays a critical role in feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin also plays a role in our sleep, digestion, and sexual function.
These ‘happy chemicals’ make you feel good, and when you feel good, you’re likely to be more open, creative, curious and playful. You are also more likely to do good for others.
Practising gratitude regularly will train your brain to focus on what’s going well and this works to transform the way you see and experience the world for the better.
How can you practise gratitude and unleash your happy chemicals more often, and more intensely?
Firstly, find a practice that works for you. Despite what the self-help gurus or wellness influencers might suggest, there isn’t one type of gratitude practice – there are many. Our Gratitude Journal has five different ways to practise gratitude. It will help you find the gratitude practice that is a fit for you
Write it down. Get yourself a notebook or Gratitude Journal. The benefits of gratitude, no matter which practice you use, are stronger when you write it down.
Find a rhythm that works for you. You don’t need to practise gratitude every day for it to be effective (this is backed by research findings).
Do it whenever and wherever. Practising gratitude doesn’t always look like what you see on social media. You don’t have to be sitting by the ocean or meditating in the wilderness to practise gratitude.
Remember, all good things take time. If, after giving gratitude practice a good go, you find it’s not your thing, then let it go. There’s something called ‘person intervention fit’ which simply means find the experiences and tools that work for you, those that fit with your personality, your lifestyle, and your values.
Unleash your happy chemicals with our Gratitude Journal. Informed by positive psychology research, it has five evidence-based practices for you to try so you can find the one that works best for you. It differs from many that you’ve seen around ... It’s not dated like a calendar, so you don’t need to start in January. It’s not something you need to do every day (because seriously, who has the time or the energy). And #thankfully it doesn’t instruct you to do the same activity over and over again.