With the holidays approaching it is a time for all of us to get together with loved ones, to enjoy good food and laughter, to celebrate our deepest convictions, and to be charitable to others. It is also a time to stop, to pause and to reflect on what we are grateful for.
Do you have a word or phrase that comes to mind that reflects feelings of gratitude or thankful thoughts?
Write it down. Think about keeping a daily journal of thanks. It is important to make note of your heartfelt thoughts.
WE all have an amazing ability to influence our health and wellbeing everyday by choosing to participate in our own happiness. Remember: gratitude is a vibration that heals.
Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?”
You can start your day with reflections of gratitude. Make it a habit to include thankful thoughts into your mindset. The expression or intention of gratitude can elevate your mood and act as a natural antidepressant. Why? When we take the time to be grateful neural circuits are activated that trigger the increased production of dopamine and serotonin to various regions of the brain.
The Indiana University researchers led by Prathik Kini looked at the neuroscience of gratitude through a simulated, “Pay it forward exercise.” The researchers found via brain imaging that the more money a participant gave away, the stronger the feelings of gratitude they reported feeling, the more activity they exhibited in a range of brain areas in the frontal, parietal, and occipital regions. There is seminal neuroscience research that has been done at Indiana University and at USC that defines areas of the brain that correlate with gratitude and other complex emotions.
We are living at an exciting time in history with important intellectual collaborations being made between spiritual leaders, neuroscientists, quantum physicists, physicians and other luminaries in honor of mental health. The paradigm progression is fostering a greater understanding of the power of OUR thoughts and the true nature of our “MIND.”
As an Adult and Child board certified psychiatrist I can say that a discussion of the importance of gratitude and wellbeing is part of every mental health thrive plan. Starting every day with reflections of gratitude is good for you 365 days a year.
Tips to remember:
- It is never too early or too late to start your practice of gratitude.
- Neuroscience supports that thinking grateful thoughts activates “feel good” neural pathways in the brain that can help to improve your mood.
- A practice of gratitude can change your mindset and help life long improved mental health.
I want to thank All of you for your support of raising the awareness of the importance of mental health! There is no health without mental health.
I am wishing you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
With love and gratitude-