With the development of the human mind and its conditions, doctors are continually finding ways, other than actual medicine, to combat said conditions. Nowadays, prescriptions include diet changes, new environments, and even mindset shifts. Scientists argue that most, if not all, the events that happen to our bodies stem from the mind, therefore learning to train the mind can lead to groundbreaking discoveries in all aspects of human life. Gratitude is one of the mindsets, which have a significant effect on brain function. People who practice thankfulness hugely reap from this way of life. What does gratitude do to the brain, you ask? Here are a few ways it rewires your mind for the better.
Increase in hypothalamus functionality
One of the most significant benefits of appreciating things and people around you is that your brain immediately reacts by enhancing your hypothalamus activity. The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that drives necessary actions such as eating, walking, swallowing, and metabolism. With increased hypothalamus, functioning comes better physical performance. For example, better metabolism means less digestive issues such as stomachaches, acid reflux, and conditions such as obesity. A healthily functioning hypothalamus also improves your sleeping habits allowing you to get enough rest each night and reap from consequent benefits.
Stimulates the production of dopamine
The simple act of saying thank you goes a long way in influencing the way your brain functions. Research proves that gratitude causes serotonin in your brain to produce dopamine, which in simple terms, is the culprit responsible for feelings of joy, happiness, and an overall high. Having high levels of dopamine, in healthy amounts, helps relieve your mind of stress and anxiety. It also helps alleviate your moods. With less stress and depression comes pain and tension release in your body. This means that gratitude is a valid prescription for people struggling with mental challenges.
Increases brain’s problem-solving abilities
Practicing gratitude consequently leads to living a positive life. This means acknowledging the bad in any circumstance but choosing to focus on the positive. When you do this, you prevent your mind from going hysterical in challenging situations. When your mind is calm, it can work smoothly and efficiently to find possible solutions to your current problem. For example, when you get a flat tire during a road trip, and you do not have a spare one, you might find yourself panicking and afraid. However, gratitude will remind you that at least you are safe, and you still have a phone, which you can use to call for help. If you focused on the problem without seeing the positive side of it, you could have ended up experiencing a panic attack and other complications without making the situation better,
Sets a standard of emotions or feelings
Dopamine is a very addictive substance to the human system. Once your system experiences that emotional high, it demands for more. Therefore, your brain continually reminds you to do what you did before, i.e., be grateful, so that it can get another dose of dopamine to feel great. While this might seem selfish of the brain, it is an effective way of reminding you to do things that make you happy, in this case, practicing gratitude.
In conclusion, to answer the question ‘what does gratitude do to the brain,’ consider the above benefits. Gratitude has an overall positive effect on your brain that causes benefits that trickle to your health and other aspects of your life. A thankful life is a happy and healthy life.