Happy Monday and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sometimes, it is easy to forget how many things we have to be grateful for. Not just the big things, but all of the little things too.
We all know we should be grateful for family, a home to live in and food on the table. There are so many out there who have none of these things. But, what about a beautiful, sunny day or a much needed rain? What about coming through a hurricane with just surface damage? Do you ever give thanks for being able to go to the grocery store, then making it home safely? Or even the green lights when you are running late for an appointment?
How do you feel when you give and give to a person and never get a word of thanks from that person? Do you sometimes feel like maybe you should just quit giving? Do we sometimes ask and ask, but still forget to give thanks when we receive?
I have to wonder, how God feels when He gives and gives, but never receives a word of thanks. What would we do if He just quit giving? I am thankful we have a loving, forgiving God!
Father, thank you so much for being that loving Father, even when we don’t deserve it. Open our hearts and minds and let us see all of the many things You have blessed us with and the blessings we receive through others. Please forgive us when we try to blindly take on life all on our own and neglect involving you. It’s only through You that we can successfully maneuver our daily lives, no matter how simple or how complex they may be. Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
In His light,
Using Gratitude to Change Your Brain
Daniel Amen, MD
More than just spending time with family and friends while sharing food, Thanksgiving is about gratitude. And though the holiday only comes once a year, expressing gratitude regularly is a brain-healthy practice that can change your brain and change your life all year long!
Scientific research reveals that being consistently grateful can have a positive effect on your health.
Did you know that practicing gratitude causes real changes in your brain that enhance brain function and make you feel better?
Your attitude really matters!
When you bring your attention to the things in your life for which you are grateful, your brain actually works better. Brain imaging studies show that negative thought patterns change the brain in a negative way, but conversely, practicing gratitude literally helps you have a brain to be grateful for.
If you want your brain to work better, practice being grateful for the good things in your life. Here is an exercise to use:
Every day, write down five things for which you are grateful.
The act of writing helps to solidify them in your brain.
In my experience, when depressed patients do this exercise every day they get better faster. Research from University of Pennsylvania demonstrated that when people did this exercise they noticed a significant positive difference in their level of happiness in just 3 weeks.
Other researchers have found that people who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more helpful to others.
Spending time each day thinking of things for which you are grateful is an important part of a brain-healthy lifestyle.
Another simple practice that I highly recommend you do is focus EVERY DAY on your motivation for being healthy. Think about these things:
Why do you care about having a healthy life?
Why do you want a stronger mind and a more powerful brain?
Is your motivation to look great? … To have a lot of energy? … Is it to live a long time? … Or is it to be a role model for someone you love?
These may seem like such basic questions.
But if you don’t know the answers to these questions or don’t keep the answers in front of you every day, no amount of great information will keep you on track with the constant exposure to unhealthy options all around you. Understanding why you care is one of the most important things you should know.