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Giving thanks may make your brain more altruistic

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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Giving thanks may make your brain more altruistic

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

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

Experiential consumption

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

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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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Count your blessings

Spend 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things that went well that day, large or small, and also describing why you think they happened.

Mental subtraction

You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. 

Consider the many ways in which important, positive events in your life—such as a job opportunity or educational achievement—could have never taken place, and then reflecting on what your life would be like without them.

Savor

We have a tendency to adapt to pleasurable things—a phenomenon called “hedonic adaptation”—and appreciate them less and less over time. 

We can interrupt this process by trying the Give it Up practice, which requires temporarily giving up pleasurable activities and then coming back to them later, this time with greater anticipation and excitement.

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Appreciate everything

The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.

Find gratitude in your challenges

Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. Sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for.

Dig a little deeper into some of your own past experiences and try to figure out how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.

Practice mindfulness

Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. 

Picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session.

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