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3 brain health benefits of practicing gratitude

Practicing gratitude can help you in more ways than you know. Gratitude feels good. Yet, there is so much more that you can get out of this simple practice. As you age, taking actions to express your gratitude can boost your health and wellbeing.

Let’s explore 3 brain health benefits of practicing gratitude:

1. Lower cortisol levels that lead to stress

When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol, the primary stress hormone. High cortisol levels can lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Research shows that practicing gratitude everyday can help to reduce cortisol levels by 23% which can improve your mental and physical health. Healthy coping strategies to handle stress include daily gratitude affirmations, eating well, and exercising regularly.

2. Sharper cognition

Cognitive functions include your mental abilities to remember, learn, reason, and problem solve. As you age, you can experience cognitive decline which can make it more difficult to remember, concentrate, and learn. Practicing simple affirmations, such as saying “Today, I’m grateful for ” or “I’m thankful for” has been proven to heighten overall cognitive function. Even writing down these affirmations in a gratitude journal can have a positive impact on your cognition. Studies have also shown that daily gratitude practice is associated with larger volumes of the amygdala, which is the part of the brain associated with emotion and memory processing.

3. Increased happiness

Studies show that practicing gratitude can help you regulate your emotions, which in turn can help you deal with difficult emotions such as resentment, regret, and anger. Gratitude can also promote self-motivation, which makes you more likely to stay motivated and achieve your goals. In fact, research has found link between gratitude and well-being — it has been proven that gratitude can increase happiness and reduce symptoms of depression.