The Neuroscience Behind Gratitude: How Does Cultivating Appreciation Affect Your Brain

Mental health awareness is having a moment. Practitioners of all types are seizing on advanced research that is helping to create new modalities addressing depression, anxiety and mental well-being.

One of the most compelling findings is that the concept of gratitude can be a powerful stimulus for promoting brain health and overall happiness. The science behind gratitude has evolved considerably, but there appears to be a consensus that a daily regime focused on being thankful is extremely beneficial for your mental health.

What is Gratitude?

Researchers believe that the underlying idea behind gratitude-that there has been some form of positive outcome combined with the recognition that there is an external source that has caused it—can be used by anyone to promote positive changes in their brain chemistry.

Gratitude is not only a state of mind, but a tool that can be deployed against negative thoughts and feelings. Rather than being caught up in a whirlwind of negative emotions, employing gratitude in a conscious manner sets a chain of positive thought and energy in motion.

Indeed, research has shown that expressing gratitude can actually increase the production of dopamine, a chemical that is released in your brain when you anticipate a reward. Dopamine production also improves other vital body functions including memory, blood flow and digestions.

Neurofeedback Can Train Your Brain

For people seeking to retrain their brain, the practice of Neurofeedback has helped people improve their mood and help with work and relationships. Similar to biofeedback for the brain, neurofeedback measures physical responses like heart rate and temperature, along with sensors that monitor brain activity. At Clear Mind Treatment, our trained staff can create a program of brain exercises that can restore your brain activity to how it functions in a calm, relaxed state. Our clients have found Neurofeedback to be helpful in many situations, including helping with symptoms relating to PTSD, OCD and bipolar disorder. If you or a loved one is interested in how Neurofeedback can help restore your brain to optimal functioning, please call us.

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