How and why does Gratitude work?
Lights up the Brain’s Reward Pathway
Thinking about other people doing nice things floods the brain with positive chemicals and sparks brain activity critical to sleep, orgasms, mood regulation and metabolism.
Shifts the Heart Rhythm
Increases coherence of body functions, which facilitates higher cognitive functions, creating emotional stability and facilitating states of calm.
Increases Social Connection
You can feel greater connection and feel more satisfied with friends, family, school, community and yourself.
Lessens Anxiety & Depression Symptoms
Challenging negative thought patterns, helps to calm the anxious and boost the moods of those who are depressed.
Increases Heart Variability
Heart patients who practice gratitude show better moods, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.
Increases Empathy & Compassion
The more thankful we feel, the more likely we are to act pro-socially toward others, causing them to feel grateful and setting up a beautiful virtuous cascade.
Improves Physical Health
Strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains.
Helps you steer through stressful events and helps you deal with adversity by acting as a buffer against internalising symptoms.
Feeling grateful to others makes us inspired and uplifted—these feelings of elevation bolster motivation to become healthier, more generous people but also better, more productive workers.
Based on research by: R. Emmons, The University of California, USA; M. Mcculough, University of Miami, USA; P. J. Mills, The University of California, USA; R. Zahn, National Institutes of Health, Cognitive Neuroscience Section, USA & The University of Manchester, UK; P. Kini, Indiana University, USA; E. Simon-Thomas, The Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley, USA; J. Froh, Hofstra University, USA; M. A. Stoeckel, American University, USA; A. Wood, University of Stirling, UK; Institute of HeartMath, USA; K. Layousa, California State University, USA.
Gratitude and Resilience = Enhanced Well-being
Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with GREATER HAPPINESS.
Children are capable of extraordinary things…
Adversity is a fact of life, but being resilient means they are better able to cope during hardships or challenges, and sometimes bounce back stronger than they were before.
Resilience is more than just putting on a brave face, it is having the capacity to persevere and to recover quickly from difficulties – disappointments, setbacks, illness and tragedy.
It is one of the best skills we can teach to our children.
Helping ourselves and those we love survive through difficult times can seem like a distant dream. But imagine not just surviving but thriving. Becoming stronger and wiser through the experiences of everyday life. That is what building resilience is all about.
Childhood can be a challenging time – independence, self-identity, self-worth all become increasingly important. Throw in hormones, schoolwork and social life and they’re navigating a load of emotions.
Plus children are more stressed than ever before, there are higher expectations and schedules filled with team sports, swimming and dancing lessons, homework, chores, and after school tuition, but often we are navigating the problem solving for them. We remove the barriers to success, we are not letting them take risks or giving them the skills they need when they face adversity.
The AwesoME Inc Resilient ME® journal will introduce your child to the simple ways you can build resilience.
Together you can start building your family resilience tool-kit that’ll set them up with life-long skills. Because ultimately as parents we just want our kids to be happy, confident and resilient.
Resilience can be learned at ANY age!
Did you know that you can literally rewire your brain through the experiences and attitudes we expose it to.
Practising gratitude is the basis of all AwesoME Inc journals and science tells us it is one of the easiest and most effective ways of retraining the brain.
Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, says, “When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.”¹
If you focus on the good, soon you will see more, enjoy more, appreciate more…
Not only does practising gratitude help to increase resilience it can also help to:
- increase social connection
- increase empathy and compassion
- lessen anxiety and depression symptoms
- facilitate higher cognitive functions
- create emotional stability
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce symptoms of illness
- improve sleep
- make you less bothered by aches and pains
- increase productivity
- make you less materialistic
- make you kinder
- make you happier.²
Your attitude is yours to choose…
According to studies by research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and colleagues, it has been determined that after taking into account our genetically predetermined personality (50%) and the circumstances we are born into (10%), a whopping 40% is left over. This 40% is our behaviour or intential activity – that is 40% that is in our ability to control.³
So 40% of your happiness is subject to manipulation! The thoughts and behaviours that characterise naturally happy people can be nurtured, acquired, or directly taught.
AwesoME Inc Resilient ME® journals are full of the simple tools to help you learn these behaviours that will positively influence your well-being.
1. ROBERT A EMMONS, GRATITUDE WORKS!: A 21-DAY PROGRAM FOR CREATING EMOTIONAL PROSPERITY. JOSSEY-BASS (2013) 2. BULLET POINTS BASED ON RESEARCH BY R. EMMONS, THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORMIA, USA; M. MCCULOUGH, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, USA; P.J. MILLS, THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, USA; R. ZAHN, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, COGNITIVE NUEROSCIENCE SECTION, USA; P. KINI, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, USA; E. SIMON-THOMAS, THE GREATER GOOD SCIENCE CENTER, UC BERKELEY, USA; J. FROH, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY, USA; M. A. STOEKEL, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, USA; A. WOOD, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, UK; INSTITUTE OF HEARTMATH, USA; K. LAYOUSA, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, USA. 3. S. LYBORMIRSKY, K.M. SHELDON AND D. SCHKADE (2005). ‘PURSUING HAPPINESS. THE ARCHITECTURE OF SUSTAINABLE CHANGE.’ REVIEW OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY. 9. 111-131.
Some more research…
Gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness, and makes us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages us to exercise more and take better care of our health.
Robert Emmons, the University of California & Michael McCullough, Professor of Psychology, University of Miami
Keeping a diary of three blessings worked much better to boost happiness than recalling three times when a person felt a sense of pride in his or her own accomplishments… What we believe is happening is that it makes people look for the good in their life more, so it trains their attention to more good things.
Phillip Watkins, psychologist, Eastern Washington University
Simply saying “thank you” to a spouse can create a virtuous cycle of gratitude, where each person feels more appreciated and happy. It will help you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, plus help you deal with adversity and build a stronger relationship.
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology
Gratitude makes a person less materialistic, thus kinder to the environment.
According to a study presented at an American Psychological Association convention
Dozens of studies have found that gratitude can improve well-being, and can even help people curb depression and anxiety, improve cholesterol, and get better sleep.
Robert Emmons, professor of psychology, the University of California
Dr Karolina Krysinska, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention, The University of New South Wales, Australia
Research shows that grateful people are happier and the quality of their health and emotional state of being can be transformed by being more appreciative. Studies performed by HeartMath clearly show improved heart rhythmic function, stress reduction and clearer thought processes resulting from being grateful.
International Pediatric Chiropractic Association
Those who practice gratitude are more patient during economic decision-making, leading to better decisions and less pressure from the desire for short-term gratification.
David DeSteno, professor of psychology, Northeastern University, Boston
In patients with asymptomatic heart failure, who practiced gratitude for 8 weeks, they were found to have better moods, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health. The study showed an increase in heart rate variability, considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk, while they wrote in a gratitude journal.
Paul J. Mills, professor of family medicine and public health, the University of California
After eight weeks of practice, brain scans of individuals who practice gratitude have stronger brain structure for social cognition and empathy, as well as the part of the brain that processes reward.
Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, the science director of the Greater Good Science Center
By practising gratitude you can feel more connected to your friends, family, feel better about your school, have higher levels of optimism, increased life satisfaction, and decreased negative feelings.
Jeffrey Froh, associate professor, Hofstra University
Gratitude helps us notice the world around us, and what our blessings are. We start taking less things for granted and feel more awake and alive.
Dr. kerry howells, university of tasmania, Australia
Journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance your long-term happiness by over 10% .
ROBERT EMMONS, THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA & MICHAEL MCCULLOUGH, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
The combination of diaphragmatic breathing along with self-induced positive emotions (like actively practicing gratitude) increase the coherence (interconnection) of bodily processes, which is reflected in the pattern of the heart’s rhythm, by which the heart-rate slows down and is evenly measured. This shift in the heart rhythm in turn plays an important role in facilitating higher cognitive functions, creating emotional stability and facilitating states of calm.
Institute of HeartMath, Boulder Creek, California
In a study of adolescents gratitude has been found to protect children of ill parents from anxiety and depression, acting as a buffer against internalising symptoms. Those who are able to focus on the positives in their lives can more easily deal with difficult situations.