The Importance of Gratitude Practice

Dr. Tanya Hudson
Gratitude changes everything napkin with coffee
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 As I’ve said before, what we do on repeat our brain sees as being really important.  This describes the concept of “brain plasticity.”  By doing something over and over, the brain begins to strengthen neurological connections that promote that thought or action.  So we can actually remodel our brains.    

One way to prevent memory decline later in life is to practice POSITIVITY.  

recent study found that people who see life in a positive way, have less memory decline later in life.  Fascinating!  So, staying positive matters, in more ways than we thought.  

If you practice gratitude and positivity on a daily basis, you will FEEL more positive and have a better outlook on life.  

One simple way I practice gratitude is with my “2 by 2 evening routine.” 

Each night, I write in my journal “2 wins” and “2 gratefuls.”  A “win” is something I did for my health (i.e. had a nice walk) and a “grateful” is something I am grateful for in my life (which could be as simple as a tree outside your window). 

This is a quick, 5 minute or less, exercise and it leaves you going to bed positive, hopeful, and proud of your accomplishments.  This journal becomes a wonderful “uplifting read” when you are having one of those, “I fell off the wagon,” kind-of-days.  

Want more ways to practice gratitude?  Plenty of ideas:

  • Keep a gratitude journal and add to it everyday. 
  • Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
  • Notice the beauty in nature each day.
  • Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
  • Smile more often.
  • Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
  • Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
  • Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
  • Call your mom or dad more often.
  • Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
  • Volunteer for organizations that help others.
  • Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone.
  • Spend quality time with your kids, or spouse.
  • Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good.
  • Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
  • Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
  • When you think a negative thought, try to see the positive side in the situation.
  • Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
  • Try to take note when people do a good job and give recognition when it’s due at work.
  • Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.

I hope we can all develop long-lasting practices that will keep our brain functioning properly into old age.