SUPPORT FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH MEMORY LOSS AND THEIR FAMILIES

How Gratitude Makes Us Joyful

The University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) has published many studies on the benefits of gratitude. They focus resources on uncovering the medical benefits of giving to charity or saying thank you. We are all better off understanding the ways gratitude can improve our life because the benefits are huge.

One powerful benefit of gratitude involves our brain. Gratitude is processed in our brain as a social emotion. Each time we exercise gratitude, saying thank you to someone for their behavior towards us, our brain is flooded with positive chemicals. These chemicals produce more than simple pleasure like that experienced when we eat chocolate. These chemicals activate the reward center of our brain and over time lead to more positive neurological tendencies like showing empathy, more easily forgiving and being supportive toward others. These tendencies grow joy.

Another powerful benefit of gratitude, according to the GGSC, is resilience. Resilience is a term that refers to our biological and emotional ability to bounce back from stressful events including trauma, grief, and even pain. The GGSC proposes that gratitude helps us become more resilient and less vulnerable to stress throughout our lives. The next time you experience stress, turn up your gratitude and experience this benefit for yourself.

To ways to add more gratitude to your life visit Four Great Gratitude Strategies published by the GGSC.

OPICA understands resilience and how to support CAREgivers in cultivating joy. Learn more about OPICA’s Support Groups, click HERE.

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