Gratitude: The science, health benefits and practical tools to help you get started.

Depending on the part of the world you live in, stress can come in many different forms ranging from the threat of armed conflict in parts of the developing world to the thoughts of a difficult day in the office in more advanced economies.

According to a recent Gallop Poll, in 2018 even as the US economy roared, more Americans felt stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade. 55% of Americans experienced stress during the day and 45% worries about worry and 22% felt high anger levels.

What if there was a pill that when you take it within a matter of minutes it could magically tilt life in your favor every time by programming your body and mind to know it’s time to feel truly happy and to deliver a stress free, positively awesome, joyful and optimistic day no matter what life threw your way…..all without any negative health side effects?

What if each pill dose was specifically built for your personal biology and only cost you $1 USD per dose.

What if it’s not just a market hyped super supplement, but a scientifically proven way skyrocket your health and overall wellness in a number of scientifically validated ways?

How much money could the Pharmaceutical or Supplement Company that owns that patent stand to make in global sales if it cost them literally nothing to make or distribute? Who in their right mind would not want to take it?

If all this sounds too good to be true, YOUR RIGHT… I’m sorry to get your hopes up. You can’t buy it for $1 USD per dose, and it’s not a pill that supplement or pharmaceutical companies can make with all of their modern manufacturing techniques.

What if I could show you how to make as much as you wanted to for pennies on the dollar? Better yet, what if I could show you how to make it for free (at home), for as little as 5 minutes per day and requires absolutely no sophisticated equipment.

Ok sorry about walking you so many what if’s….I have to come clean, what I am peddling today is actually not a pill, more of a “virtual lens technology” that’s created by a regular practice called Gratitude.

Yep, Gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

Ok let’s get this one out of the way, Gratitude is not just saying “Thanks” when the Starbucks barista hands your venti, quad-shot, iced, skinny, cinnamon-caramel dolce latte. It’s not just about giving a courteous head nod and a smile when someone holds the door open for you.

In fact Gratitude it’s not an actual action, even thought it can be expressed verbally and through reciprocity. Gratitude is an emotion, a mindset, it’s a beautiful, fountain of mental and physical power that is just waiting to Spring up at any time.

The word Gratitude is comes from the Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. All subsequent Latin root derivatives have to do with gifts, generousness and kindness. It’s all about the beauty of giving and receiving or getting something from nothing.

What this means is that the sole object of gratitude is, wait for it, others….. it stems from the perception of a positive personal outcome, that’s not necessarily earned and is solely due to the result of another person’s actions.

Gratitude is an affirmation, an affirmation of goodness in the world. It’s a two step mental process where you #1 recognize that one has reached a positive outcome and #2 recognize that the positive outcome is due to an external source.

The Science Behind Gratitude

By now you might be thinking ok this is way to New Age, Woo-Woo, Pseudo Science for me, can we really quantify the effects of Gratitude? Yes actually, several studies have show that Gratitude Improves Psychological Health And Mental Strength, Enhances Empathy & Reduces Aggression, Improves Sleep Quality, Improves Self-Esteem and even your Physical Health

Gratitude has a profound effect on our life’s outlook, it literally allows us to put on the proverbial “rose color lenses” from which to color our life’s experiences in a positive way.

This rose color lens effect was elegantly illustrated by a 2003 University of Miami study The study examined if focusing on “counting one’s blessing” as opposed to focusing on complaining or on neutral life events would lead to improved psychological and physical conditioning.

During the study participants where split into 3 groups: Gratitude, Hassle, or Event.

The Gratitude group was instructed to write down what they were grateful for, such as “having wonderful parents”, “waking up in the morning” and “to God for giving me determination” etc..

The Hassle group was instructed to write down things that irritated them, like “stupid people driving”, “messy kitchen no one will clean”, “doing a favor for a friend who didn’t appreciate it”.

The Events group, was instructed to write down circumstances that affected them, such as “talked to a doctor about medical school”, “learned CPR”, “cleaned out my shoe closet”, and “attended Whole Earth Festival” and to categorize each event as either positive, negative or neutral.

All 3 groups (Gratitude, Hassle and Events) were instructed to rate their mood, physical symptoms, reactions to social support received, estimated amount of time spent exercising, and two global life appraisal questions.

The study results showed that Gratitude practice had a more positive effect that the hassle practice group and where more likely to offer others emotional support or helped someone with a personal problem, which suggests that gratitude induction can result in pro-social motivation.

The takeaways is that even though these three groups may have encountered similar daily life experiences (such as dealing with bad drivers, having someone open the door for them or being around family), they key is what they chose to focus their attention towards.

The reality is that your current circumstance is really nothing more than an opportunity to make a conscious decision to look at the bright side, it’s an opportunity to extract that life wisdom nectar from your every experience.

At Brain Mechanics we have been able to quantify the profound positive effects of gratitude on Heart Rate Variability and Coherence using wearable heart rate sensors.

Our data shows that Gratitude clearly induces a shift from the body’s Fight or Flight mode (What’s called the Sympathetic part of the Nervous System) towards the body’s Relax and Digest mode (What’s called the Parasympathetic Nervous System).

The effects are so profound that it’s now part of our Alzheimer’s Resolution Protocol‘s the comprehensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy segment that’s applied to our clients, their families and primary care takers.

Practical Gratitude Tools & Applications:

I my life, when I face challenging times I’ve trained myself to always ask: what did I learn from this experience?

This simple question has made it possible for me to adopt a “student” mentality to the world, which has the profound effect of inducing a metal shift towards a more positive, state by actively transforming every experience into a learning experience.

I apply a gratitude affirmation practice several times a day such as during the start of my day to prime my mind and body to facing the day’s challenges from a positive, gracious posture.

I also apply gratitude during the day when I encounter friction with certain people (Which causes anxiety, stress, anger, frustrations etc..), or at times such as before a meal or when I am with my family.

Practicing Gratitude at the end of the day (along with my night time Vipassana medication practice) also helps me finish my day in the positive, stress free note that primes my mind and body for achieving regular deep, restorative sleep.

You will flat out notice it’s profound effects withing a matter of minutes….give it a try!

Gratitude Practices Overview:

You are going to be contemplating and then naming 3 things that you are thankful for about your life. These things can be based on the past, present, or future. No category or thing is too big or small to appreciate, however, being specific might be helpful.

These could be experiences, people or objects.   Then you are going to visualize in detail what you are thankful for and why you are thankful for it?  Think about how each one makes you feel and why they make you feel this way?

Experiences: Could be about experiences you had or will have during the day.  These could be simple experiences that you enjoyed or will enjoy such as a walk in the park, eating ice cream with family and friends, helping others on that day and what is it about these experiences that you really thankful for? Is it because you share it with friends? Is it because you felt or will feel a certain way?

People, Pets, Animals or Objects:  People that are in your life and you are thankful for and what is it that you are thankful for them?  Do they help you in your life? Do they make you feel a certain way?  

Step #1: Now think of 3 things you are grateful for.   

Step #2: Once you have your three things will will go through the following practice as you visualize your first choice you are going to slowly inhale and mentally repeat for the first thing you are grateful for.

Step #3: Visualize & Connect with the 1st Gratitude Item from your list

Think about it, visualize it, make it real in your mind, notice any feelings and or sensations in your body, how does it make you feel?

Step #4: Mentally Say and Repeat the Gratitude Affirmation 3 times:

I am happy, I thankful, I am grateful for (Name Gratitude Item 1 here).  

Then you Exhale gently and take a moment to rest… notice any feelings and or sensations in your body, how does it make you feel?

Repeat Step & 3 for the remainder Gratitude Items on your list.

Take rest and be kind!

Much Metta,

Karim.

Come check us out at  Brain Mechanics to see how we are using out of the box thinking approaches like Gratitude and other Emotional/Affect Regulation Practices combined with Functional Medicine, tDCS, tACS, PEMF, neurofeedback, the RECode Protocol and AI to eradicate Alzheimer’s from the face of the earth.

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