November is for Gratitude
November is the perfect time of year to remind us to be thankful for the life we have and the gifts we’ve received. It’s a time to reflect on our lives and acknowledge every little bit of good we have, no matter how big or how small, and soak in the feeling of being loved, appreciated, and/or fortunate.
And this act of reflection and appreciation often makes us feel good, whether that’s a feeling of satisfaction or one of happiness. But this practice of gratitude isn’t just about feeling better and being happy, it’s about changing the neural pathways in your brain.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that you can actually rewire the pathways and connections in your brain and change the structure of the brain- even after the experience of a stroke or traumatic brain injury- all through the practice of gratitude!
UCLA’s Mindfulness Research Center found that a regular practice of gratitude increases grey matter functioning in the brain, which ultimately led to them feeling happier and healthier.
They also found that a gratitude practice can boost serotonin and dopamine production, neurotransmitters which are often associated with positive emotions, pleasure, and reward.
This positive mindset is major for individuals who have a chronic illness, such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other serious health diagnosis, as the journey for recovery can be challenging and difficult.