Growing gratitude for what we have, such as what fills our hearts and nurtures us, can increase our overall happiness, sense of self-worth, and social connectedness. It can also help us connect with insight on what we have learned through life’s many challenges. Research shows that our brain has a built-in negativity bias. For example, it takes an average of five positive interactions to make up for one negative one; the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences (they stick more), and Teflon for positive ones (they don’t stick as well!).
The good news is we can rewire our brains to take in more positive experiences – to make them stick more like Velcro. Learn about the science behind gratitude and 30 second daily practice in our 6-minute video.
Try our other practices for cultivating gratitude::
Also see Justin Michael Williams’ 5-minute AM Gratitude Practice
We can experience gratitude and other feelings simultaneously. For example, we can feel grateful for the way a loved one supported us in the past and frustrated by their current actions. We can grieve in-person connections lost during COVID19 and be grateful for virtual visits.
Focusing on gratitude does not mean we minimize or ignore the challenges in our lives or the pain we experience. Practicing gratitude allows us to create space in our minds and hearts for what we do have – such as the qualities in ourselves that make us resilient, and the loved ones in our lives who support us through hard times. Also, because the mind has a negativity bias, this practice allows us to pause and connect with what we have in this very moment, which strengthens new neural pathways for resilience and balance.
Take in the Good
Similar to gratitude, “Take in the Good” and other practices for savoring the moment can rewire our brains to be more balanced and positive. This can be done in 30 seconds a few times throughout the day.