In recent years, research has blossomed with scientific evidence about a host of holistic health benefits gained from the practice of gratitude.
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley has found that those practicing gratitude consistently report changes like:
Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
Higher levels of positive emotions
More joy, optimism, and happiness
Acting with more generosity and compassion
Feeling less lonely and isolated
While it seems simple enough, studies have found that this act of appreciation and willingness to show kindness can go a long way for wiring your brain to continue in this state of mindflow. An article published in NeuroImage "The effects of gratitude expression on neural activity" states:
[Our] study found that a simple gratitude writing intervention was associated with significantly greater and lasting neural sensitivity to gratitude – subjects who participated in gratitude letter writing showed both behavioral increases in gratitude and significantly greater neural modulation by gratitude in the medial prefrontal cortex three months later. (Prathik, et al 2016)
Three months later! Can you imagine what a daily practice has the potential to do to your brain? The video below, featuring Happiness Coach Erik Karpinski, provides a brief overview of the neurological processes occurring when practicing acts of gratitude.
As he states, neurons that fire together, wire together, as could a note of gratitude a day benefit towards keeping the blues away.
If you're a lover of short and sweet, check out the guide below on how to create a Gratitude Jar and incorporate this practice into your life seamlessly, one of the personalization ideas for an in-home Mindflow Hub.
Supplies you will need:
Mason Jar (or any other container of your liking - preferably with a lid)
Decoration items like ribbon, buttons, scrap paper, stickers, paint...etc
4-5 sheets of paper
Tape, Glue and/or Mod Podge
1. Decorate your mason jar as you please (if you please). This may include:
Taping, gluing or tying ribbon, buttons..etc onto the surface and lid
Painting the surface of the jar
Mod Podge scrap paper
Labeling the jar "Gratitude Jar" "Mantra Jar" ..etc
2. Cut out "note-size" strips from the sheets of paper. This will serve as your temporary stock pile of blank cards to fill in.
3. Store this in a convenient, easy-to-reach place
4. Write your first gratitude note (and/or mantra, prayer, quote..!). If it resonates for you, decorate the note with colors or a doodle
5. Fold and plop it into the jar.
Whether you choose to do something as formal as writing a letter of gratitude or simply wish you had a more convenient place to collect those little tea bag quotes that make you smile, the goal of creating this jar is to commit yourself to taking a mindful breath at least once a day during which you reflect on a moment of joy, acceptance, warmth or kindness you experienced and to document what gratitude this awakens in you.
Your notes can range from pieces of writing to sketches to music notes -- Do you how you know best! One day, you might find these little notes are just the right pick-me-ups.
Tag us on social media @mindflow360 or join our Mindflow360 app by creating an account on the homepage and post a photo of your gratitude jar below! We would love to see what you create.