How Does Cultivating Appreciation Affect Your Brain?

December 2, 2019

Let us know more about what happens to your brain.

1. Dopamine increase
Studies have found that when we express gratitude, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in many important functions, including pleasure, reward, motivation, attention, and body movement. The surge in dopamine gives you a natural feeling of well-being, which inspires you to repeat specific behaviors, including more expression of gratitude.

Dopamine can also increase the experience and duration of positive emotions. In short, it can help you feel good, and research shows that when you feel good, you’re more likely to spread motivation to people who work, live and play. As one study found, expressing gratitude can promote prosocial behavior that attracts your affection for others and allows you to act for greater benefit, not just for your own benefit.

2. Increase the production of serotonin
In addition to increasing dopamine, gratitude is also associated with increasing serotonin production. Researcher Alex Korb wrote in his book “The Spiral of Up: A Small Change in the Process of Using Neuroscience to Reverse Depression”: “A powerful effect of gratitude is Can promote the production of serotonin. ”

Serotonin is often referred to as the happiness chemical because it helps happiness, stabilizes our emotions and helps us feel more relaxed. According to Korb, a simple act of gratitude increased serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

3. More activity in the medial prefrontal cortex
The medial prefrontal cortex is the region of the human brain that is relevant for learning and decision-making. In one study, functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed in both groups. The first group was led to think about the last time they felt so grateful and replayed in their minds, while the second group expressed their gratitude aloud as if it were recorded as shared with the person who expressed them. The scan results showed that when the subject expressed gratitude, the activity of the medial prefrontal cortex area increased sharply, which was different from the brain activity seen when the subject was grateful but did not express gratitude. The benefits of the prefrontal cortex are not just gratitude, but also gratitude.

4. Activate areas of the brain’s “altruism” and reward systems
A recent study found that performing gratitude activities activates part of the human brain, the ventral prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), which is related to what researchers call neuropure altruism, which basically means your brain is eager to get a donation experience of. In this study, two groups of participants were required to write three calendar days in a diary each day. The first group was given general tips unrelated to gratitude, while the second group was prompted to write about gratitude experiences and things they were grateful for. When comparing the fMRI scan results of the two groups, the results showed that the group focused on gratitude activated VMPFC and neuropure altruism to a greater degree.