Hippy Thinking or Neuroscience?
Written by Tyrone Crowley
Ancient philosophers and spiritual leaders, free loving hippies and the mindfulness movement have for years been advocating that we engage in a daily practice of gratitude.
With the advancement in technology such as FMRI and PETscanners, we’re now able to look under the hood and see what is happening in the brain. Neuroscientists have proven that regular practice of gratitude, yoga, meditation or any other altered states of consciousness rewires the neural networks of the brain.
Often repeated thoughts and behaviours easily become unconscious processes, take driving for example, when was the last time you consciously had to think about changing gear? We have an innate ability to conserve energy and with repetition we make a conscious process an unconscious one.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude, has a number, of health benefits both physical and mental. If we consider that ourthoughts create our emotions, and thinking happy thoughts produces a neurobiological recipe of neuro-transmitters such as Dopamine and Serotonin which make us feel good, a sensation we label as happy.
While, in contrast, ruminating and being stressed send our brain into fight or flight response, producing a mixture of adrenalin and oxytocin, reducing access to our higher cognitive functioning prefrontal cortexand our ability to think clearly; think of someone you may know that does road rage for example.
I would be interested to know just how much more beneficialit could be, for a person to deliberately adopt mind healthy habits? I wonder when someone could find the time, now they knew it were true, that they might very well improve their overall life experience, just by spending 2-3 minutes practicing gratitude?
Knowing that the scientific community can evidence substantial health benefits from the practice of gratitude, I’m curious as to when we might become more aware of all or some of the ways in which we can just make a start andbecome aware of all those things you are grateful for. Maybe by noticing that the people we already know that are bothhealthy and happy are regularly engaged in mindset and personal development growth?
Scientists are now proving what the mystics have been telling us for years, I wonder who might be next?
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