Practicing Gratitude

Attitude of Grattitude

Attitude of Grattitude

It is commonly integrated into therapeutic practices – the concept that employing and exercising routine gratitude can facilitate many benefits. Continually working with feelings of gratitude can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety while simultaneously provide a sense of well-being.

Showing gratitude and appreciation for one another is “pro-social” behaviour and an effective way to balance against avoidance and negative emotions associated with social anxiety.
If you want to level-up your gratitude practice, we can apply a more scientific method to make the benefits really stick. The standard for a gratitude practice has been typically exercising ways to show gratitude and appreciation outwardly, and even though effective there is method to rewire your neuropathways for lasting benefits.

Interestingly, the neuropathways in our brains that activate when we receive gratitude activate very similarly to when we experience empathy. Therefore, to activate the gratitude pathways we can simultaneously activate the empathy pathways. We do this by really investing in the mindset of someone experiencing gratitude, or by recalling a time when we experienced wholehearted gratitude ourselves.

Dr. Andrew Huberman Ph.D., a Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford University lays it out like this: “An effective gratitude practice is more about experiencing empathy or sympathy for someone who received help – whether it’s help you gave or help you heard about given to someone you connect with”.

Dr. Huberman goes on to provide the following steps.
(1) Think about (or find from podcast, movie, etc.) a story in which someone received help, or you received thanks; a time when someone showed you sincere appreciation.
(2) Write a few notes about the story such as what the struggle was, what the help was, and how it made you feel.
(3) Repeatedly reflect on the story, really connecting with it for a few minutes.

For best results, reflect on and emotionally associate with the story for a few minutes a few times per week and keep a journal of any interesting mind-shifts you experience. Also, be sure to share any new experiences with friends and loved ones, I am sure they will be grateful.
-Keith Norris RTC, MTC