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Giving thanks may make your brain more altruistic

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/11/27/20983850/gratitude-altruism-charity-generosity-neuroscience

vox.com

Giving thanks may make your brain more altruistic
Finding the best ways to do good. Made possible by The Rockefeller Foundation. Over Thanksgiving, in between mouthfuls of turkey and sweet potato pie, many of us will be asking ourselves: What are we grateful for? Taking a moment to practice gratitude like this isn't an empty holiday tradition.

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Gratitude

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is good for our mental and physical health.

Several scientific studies show that there is a deep neural connection between gratitude and giving. When we're grateful, our brains become more charitable.

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Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling

The practice involves writing down things for which you are grateful. Researchers say it is more impactful to write in detail about one particular thing than to jot down a superficial list of things.

Writing once or twice a week is better for your well-being than doing it every day. It is because we adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we always focus on them.

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Gratitude letters and visits

Write a letter of gratitude to someone, even if you never send the message. The positive effects this has on the brain can last for months.

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Experiential consumption

Spend your money on experiences, not things. Instead of buying something special, consider making it an experience.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Philosophical roots of gratitude

Aristotle argued that we become what we habitually do. If we spend our days thinking of everything that has gone poorly and how dark our future appears, we can think ourselves into...

Religious roots of gratitude

  • In Judaism, the first words of the morning prayer could be translated, "I thank you."
  • From a Christian perspective, thanksgiving is vital. Jesus gives thanks before he shares his last meal with his disciples.
  • The 55th chapter of the Quran lists all the things humans have to be grateful for - the sun, moon, clouds, rain, air, grass, animals, plants, river, and oceans.
  • Hindu festivals celebrate blessings and offer thanks for them.
  • In Buddhism, gratitude develops patience and serves as an antidote to greed.

Gratitude as a way of life

One way to cultivate a disposition of gratitude is to give thanks regularly - at the beginning of the day, at meals, and at the end of the day.

Holidays, weeks, seasons, and years can be punctuated with thanks - grateful prayer, writing thank-you notes, and keeping a gratitude journal.

Gratitude meaning

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. 

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently assoc...

Write a thank-you note

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. 

Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. 

Thank someone mentally

No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

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Get Back to Being Happy

Our brain is tricky, and there are subtle ways to get it to be less depressed or anxious. If we are constantly feeling guilty, shameful or even worry a lot, the brain wants to continue that activit...

Label Those Culprits

If there is a negative emotion, like anger, sadness, or stress, keeping it vague makes it affect everything around you.

If you name or label the emotion and use a symbolic metaphor to describe it, then its negative effect is diluted.

Decide and Take Action

If you are constantly worried and anxious while making no decision on your problem, you will remain in a state of turmoil internally.

Taking a decision, even if it is not a perfect one, will provide closure to your mind and you will feel less stressed.