We thought we would do something different for this blog and talk about Gratitude and the positive physical effects from this emotion. It seemed like a logical topic given all the turmoil that we are hearing about in the news. Destructive weather systems and some pretty extreme political personalities in the world dominate the newsfeeds. Hearing and seeing photo evidence of devastated areas and hearing “what if” doom and gloom forecasts can’t help but leave us feeling a general level of stress and unbalance. It is during times like this that GRATITUDE can play a huge role not only in our physical health but also in our appearance. We found information on this topic in an article by Cori Ashley and Dr. Jason Loken.
Kieran Cooley, a Naturopathic Doctor and Research Fellow at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, found that emotions have a very real physical effect. If you are angry or upset, your muscles may become tighter, your blood pressure may be higher, or you may be short tempered and thereby remember events in a more negative way. Similarly, the feeling and act of expressing gratitude also has tangible effects on everything from the powerful neurotransmitters that control mood, memories and bodily functions, to your physical appearance (think facial expressions).
Research studies show that the state of chemicals in your brain and body, as well as the areas of your brain that are functioning, are different when you are experiencing gratitude – very similar to that when you are perpetually happy, motivated and satisfied. You are more relaxed and confident, and your cells are receiving all of the right signals to function optimally.
Our brain is not a muscle but it does tend to behave that way. When you practice feeling gratitude it sets the stage for how you will react in the future. The brain has learned to release the neurotransmitters that create the positive chemical state in your brain. This positive chemical state helps battle chronic pain and can normalize the function of the heart. When we feel physically well, this shows in our skin and facial expressions.
We know for some of you this blog may sound “preachy”, but taking a holistic or whole body approach to rejuvenation has the most impact and carries the longest lasting effects. So go on… take a moment and feel grateful for that coffee you are about to enjoy or for your family that is making you crazy. It is good for your brain.
If you are looking for more benefits of gratitude you can go to www.happierhuman.com where you will see a whopping 31 benefits of gratitude based on 40 research studies.