Is your glass half full or half empty? If you’re in the half empty camp, we have some good news for you: you don’t have to be.
With a little dedication, you can actually rewire your brain and inherently live the glass half full life (or maybe all the way full — we have so much to be grateful for)!
Not only can a little brain training allow you to instinctively perceive the beauty around you and have a deeper appreciation for your experiences, but the simple act of being grateful can improve your health!
The old phrase, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks does NOT apply to our brains! Just as we exercise our bodies (and at Catalyst Wellness and Rehab Studio focus on proper movement and rehabilitative methodologies), we can apply the same principles to building new neural connections in our brains. Shocking, isn’t it!
In the 1960s scientists discovered what is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is building new neural pathways in our brains. To build these new connections repeat a thought or action, in this case gratitude, and watch this new mindset become your new norm. There is debate about how many repetitions we need in order to build these paths, but it’s always a good time to start learning new positive habits!
Positive thoughts release dopamine and serotonin (The happy hormones!)
Expressing gratitude toward others fosters a positive outlook towards the other person - opening the door to communication for expressing concerns and better being able to "put yourself in their shoes."
Less stress, better emotional awareness, and improved quality of sleep? No wonder gratitude has such a strong connection to physical health and productivity.
Developing your Gratitude Attitude
We exercise our bodies for health, but most of us don’t exercise our brains. Here are some gratitude practices you can implement to challenge your brain and build some new neural pathways!
Instead of “I have to,” tell yourself “I get to!”
Upon waking or before going to bed (or both!), think of three things you are grateful for.
Take it a step further and write them down! You could have a gratitude journal, or just jot it on your to-do list in the morning.
Make a point to experience your surroundings and notice the beauty of the world around you. Maybe you set a reminder on your phone to have a “mindful moment,” or have your morning coffee or afternoon snack in a place where you can appreciate your environment.
Write and deliver a letter of gratitude to someone you feel hasn’t been properly thanked.
Consider making this a monthly habit, and don’t forget to write yourself one every now and then!
Do something for yourself everyday. Even if it is as simple as committing to your nightly beauty routine, taking a relaxing bath, or reading a book, making time for yourself daily is an important component of having a grateful attitude and being emotionally resilient.
Happy Thanksgiving, the Catalyst Team is so grateful for each and every one of you!