Thank You Thursday is promoted as a terrific opportunity to thank those in your life who make things easier, those who love you, and those who just make your day better by sharing with you a smile or a friendly hello. But while you may think that those on the receiving end of your gratitude are the beneficiaries, you will find, Dux students, that positive changes will start to happen in your life too when you take the time to give thanks.
The Science Behind Gratitude
The simple concept that a healthy mind = a healthy body has been scientifically proven by UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre and many other institutions. The National Institutes of Health, for example, found that the hypothalamus is activated by gratitude. This is significant because your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates bodily functions such as appetite, sleep, temperature, metabolism, and growth.
Addiction is normally taboo in the Dux world. You have a free pass this time, though. Feelings of thankfulness flood our brains with the chemical dopamine which causes a natural high. Because this feeling is so good, we want to feel it again and again – motivating us to give thanks.
But Wait, There’s More
Less Pain. Another study tested being thankful on ill patients. Of those who kept a gratitude journal, 16% reported reduced symptoms, and 10% reported a decrease in pain.
Better Sleep. Gratitude improves the quality of your sleep, shortens the time it takes to fall asleep, and increases the duration of your sleep. (Guess which part of the brain controls sleep? The hypothalamus, of course!) Proper sleep offsets anxiety, depression, and pain. It also boosts your immune system.
Less Stress. Not only does better sleep relieve stress, but gratitude research also discovered that patients who cultivated appreciation:
- Showed a significant decrease (10%) in their systolic blood pressure.
- Measured a decreased level of cortisol - the primary stress hormone.
- Were faster in their recoveries after something traumatic, than those who weren’t.
- Decreased depression levels by more than 30%
- Showed significant behavioural changes seen in MRI scans. Changes in the brain helped them manage negative emotions, while being more helpful, empathetic, and kind.
More Vitality. Not surprisingly, thankful people have higher energy levels, are more relaxed, are happier, and are healthier.
Our Thanks to YOU
Before we share the best ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude, the Dux team would like to say a great, big THANK YOU to all our Dux students. We love what we do, and witnessing your personal growth and academic progress is a true joy. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
How to be Graciously Grateful
According to ideapod.com, you can reap the benefits of thankfulness, by keeping a gratitude journal, praying, meditating, or simply saying how you feel. Rather than limiting your appreciation to Thank You Thursday only, try to keep your mind open to seeing things in your daily routine for which you are grateful.
Here are three practical steps ways:
- “Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for every day for a year, and never repeat the same thing. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. Once you get the bigger, more obvious things out of the way, you start to reflect on the less-noticeable things like your breath, or having a bed to sleep in every night, or how happy it makes you to see your friend smile.
- Make it a practice to tell a family member, partner, or friend something you appreciate about them every day.
- Look in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth, and think about something you have done well recently or something you like about yourself.”
Click HERE to download a complimentary Gratitude Workbook.
“Dux dʌks noun
The top pupil in a school or class.”