Things you will need
– A large jar
– Small-size papers or post-it notes
Perform one of the drills below on a daily basis:
- Think of a person to whom you would like to express your gratitude for something good he did for you, or for any other reason. He might have helped you at some point of your life or gave you inspiration through their paradigm. Perhaps they contributed indirectly by helping a person close to you or even contributed to a common cause you cared about.
Write a few words expressing your gratitude to this person!
- Think of something for which you are grateful. It can be anything, small or large. Something you may have considered given, but with a closer look you realize it isn’t. Something which you possess and you don’t want to lose. Or something bad which you managed to avoid, or it happened without affecting you. Or even something bad which just never happened!
Write just a few words expressing your gratitude about this!
Drop all your notes into your gratitude jar. In some time you will have a jar full with plenty of reasons to be grateful for what life has given you so far.
Gratitude’s effect on your brain
According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the structure of the brain. Recently, fMRI has been used to study gratitude. The brain activity of participants was measured when experiencing different emotions, and found that gratitude causes synchronized activation in multiple brain regions, and activates the brain’s reward pathways. In short, just like anti-depressant drugs, gratitude provides your brain with precious neurotransmitters like Serotonin (the happiness and satisfaction hormone) and Dopamine (the pleasure and motivation hormone).