Did you know that you can use gratitude to rewire your brain? Being genuinely thankful and grateful can change your brain. Like anything, the more you do it the faster and more permanent the changes become.
Why would you want to use gratitude to rewire your brain?
When you use gratitude to rewire your brain, you change your operating mode. With a world full of busy-ness and stress, we need a calm operating mode more than ever. Gratitude switches our perception from one of problems to one of opportunities. This practice can re-frame everything in your world for you. When you are grateful it can improve self-esteem, sleep, thinking, mental health, and daily energy levels. It is a true win for your life.
Experiences are Not Good or Bad Until You Decide
The truth is all experiences are neutral. Think about it for just a minute. Any experience you have just is. It does not have positive or negative connotation until you assign one to the situation. You can deem it bad and get stressed out. You can deem it possibly good and wait for joy. That is why I choose to always find the blessing in disguise. I have taught myself over the years to find the potential good in every situation. This doesn’t mean that I never get upset. It means I barely get upset, and then I look for the good to come.
Brand New Car Is Dead, Now What?
Here is an example. A while back Cosmas and I decided to trade in my Chevy Suburban, which I loved. We felt that we needed to get a Honda Odyssey mini-van because the kids were young and it as hard to get four kids into car seats in the back of the Suburban (yikes, those were the days). I am not exactly a mini-van kind of girl, and just really needed one for sake of ease. We test drove mini-vans and he kept asking me what I thought. “How does it drive?” he’d ask. “Like a mini-van.” I would reply. Anyway. we bought it, it was brand new.
One year later, I was traveling quite far away from home and the engine ceased on the highway. I called AAA and the tow truck driver said that it had thrown a spark plug and trashed the whole engine (look it up, this is a thing with Hondas, who knew). The car was dead. Completely dead. I had to get a 100 mile tow, the farthest AAA would go on our plan. Wow, was that a long drive chatting with the driver, but I digress.
Why Be Mad, When you Be Glad (Eventually)
I was psyched. I should have been upset that our new car just died and it was not covered by any type of insurance. It was going to coast us a pretty penny. Instead I stayed in peace waiting for the blessing to come. Which it did. I was able to find a new Chevy Suburban at a great price and then the dealer ended up taking our dead Honda as a trade-in even though they said they wouldn’t. It worked out perfect.
What does Gratitude do for your Brain?
I could have been upset and mad the whole time, but what good would that have done me. Honestly, bringing it back to brain performance, when you are stressed you are using too much fast brain processing speed. The “heat” of the fastness acts a a repellent to opportunity. Stress repels joy. When you stay in gratitude and hope, you attract opportunity and joy with the calmer, slower electrical energy of your brain. When you have a thought of gratitude, your brain opens the gates for dopamine, a feel good chemical in your brain The more and more grateful you are, the more dopamine is produced. Dopamine makes you feel calm and happy. Try it. It works.
How To Use Gratitude to Rewire Your Brain On A Daily Basis: 3 Easy Tips
Thankful for your Bed
This is a trick that I learned from the illustrious Louise Hay. I am grateful for the comfort of my bed each morning before I get out of it. I feel grateful for a good night’s sleep in the comfort of my warm bed and I am up and at ’em.
Each morning I write 3 things in my Journal that I am grateful for. They are usually simple and joyful things. Today’s are:
- Watching Saoirse play basketball in the yard
- Being heckled by Declan on how long dinner will take
- Cosmas smiling at me from across the room with a twinkle in his eyes
These actually bring joyful tears to my eyes as I write them. They are so simple, but when you start appreciating your life on this small level, everything is better. Remember, those small joys happened within the chaos of a Monday night at Casa de Leigh. They help to keep me happy (and sane).
This is a true Brain Hack tip. If you find that you are stressed and thinking in your head alot, then you need this tip. Open your focus to get out of your head. Sit back and take the wide view in. Don’t focus on anything in particular, just let all of it come to you in real-time. This can help reduce your stress by increasing Alpha medium brain speed as you shift out of focused thinking into Open Focus. I do this on my daily walks through my neighborhood. I hear birds, I feel the wind, I smell flowers before I see them and I appreciate all of it. It produces joy. Try it.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude does not have to be big and wild. It can be small and lovely. The definition by nature is “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation”. It can be that simple. Joy is considered a “feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. You can create that most of the time if you teach your brain to stay there. Go for it. It is so worth it.
I can help you learn more about how your brain works and how to make it work better!
My on-line course, Harness Your Brain, will teach you easy and practical strategies to improve the way your brain works, so your life gets better too. Check it out.
Want more tips on Gratitude?
Check out Jim Kwik and his meditation and mindfulness practices.
Are you totally stuck and unable to start this process at all?
If you cannot even muster one grateful thought then our brain is likely stuck in the gear of fear and anxiety. Neurofeedback can help you get unstuck and start living the life you dreamed of. Really it can.