Showing gratitude is healthy for the brain
If you had an opportunity to listen to my interview with AJ Mizes on his Share, Inspire, Repeat podcast, he told about an interesting study that was done regarding gratitude and the physical effect it has on our brain. I think that one of the most interesting things in the study was the determination that gratitude cannot be faked. For it to actually have an impact on our physiology, true gratitude has to exist. That got me to thinking. What is it that drives many people to be so grateful for life’s blessings that they are driven to show their gratitude in ways that help others that are less fortunate than themselves?
Throughout the Bring Smiles to Seniors program I have experienced the beauty of gratitude from a myriad of individuals. Giving is rarely driven by what one has, but rather by one’s need and desire to show gratitude for what has been bestowed on them. Being rich doesn’t meant that one gives more and being poor doesn’t mean that one gives less. For each finds their own way to express their gratitude for their own life blessings and they all carry equal weight and value when it comes to the effect on the brain.
One of the reasons that I feel the need to show gratitude in a multitude of ways is I have been in the place where I have had nothing. There is nothing more humbling than going to your cupboard in the morning when you are hungry and finding nothing there to eat or no money in your pocket to be able to go and buy something. The last of the month’s resources have been used and you just get through to the next payday until you can once again have the resources for sustenance. I have written about this before. I also show gratitude because my family did without to ensure that my brother and I could have. I show gratitude because there are people who believed in me and my causes enough to be a part of the journey.
People often fail to show gratitude because they believe that what they have to offer is inferior to what others may be able to give and that is quite unfortunate. In showing gratitude, it is never about the quantity, it is about the heartfelt expression that is your own way of showing that you are truly grateful. Even those who have little have reason to be grateful for in the end they could have nothing.
At the end of the day, gratitude is a personal thing and no one can make us feel or show gratitude. It has to come from within and be driven by the desire to first have a reason to be grateful and second have the will to make that gratitude known. The mere fact that we are all here in this world, living out our own purpose, is at its core reason enough to show gratitude every day.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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