Years ago Oprah Winfrey talked a lot about her gratitude journal. She would write down 5 things she was grateful for, then simmer in the emotion of gratitude. Every day.
Compounded over time, these small, daily moments of gratitude practice were said to make a positive difference in attitude and emotional stability. Powerful programming for a better outlook, they said.
Fast forward to 2019, and the publication of a book called No Self, No Problem by Chris Niebauer. Dr. Niebauer explains that there is a specific region in the right hemisphere of the brain that increases in size through the practice of . . . gratitude. With a only cursory search online we found several articles describing research on gratitude and the brain. One researcher said “when participants [in our study] reported those grateful feelings, their brains showed activity in a set of regions located in the medial pre-frontal cortex, an area in the frontal lobes of the brain where the two hemispheres meet.” (Fox, 2019, mindful.org, link below)
In other words, neurologists can now measure gratitude in a physical structure of the brain. The other G spot.
I don’t know why, but when I learn about some aspect of brain function, as in: it is possible to increase activity in a specific portion of the brain through practicing gratitude, I feel motivated to do the work! (Ahem, this is why I like to talk voice science so much – it helps us know why and how to do the these crazy voice exercises!)
…better understanding the physiology of gratitude can help pinpoint strategies for harnessing its health benefits and help people understand the importance of fostering this powerful emotion.(Fox, 2019, mindful.org – link below)
So, if you feel inspired to practice gratitude based the above information, rest assured you are changing your brain for the better. Oprah let alone countless spiritual teachers before her knew it. And now neuroscience knows it too.