Gratitude practices have been found to create physical changes in our brains. According to research by USC Performance Science Institute’s Dr. Glenn Fox, when subjects reported feelings of gratitude, the area of the brain associated with understanding other people’s perspectives, empathy, and feelings of relief showed increased activity. This area of the brain is also responsible for regulating emotions and lowering stress levels.
Intuitively, I knew I needed to train my brain to notice and be thankful for the good. This practice forced me to pay attention to the things that are actually happening, rather than the doom and gloom my over-active imagination routinely conjured. I started recording the moments, people, and things that I was grateful for onto a post-it note every day. I kept the post-it next to my work area, or in my purse, and as things happened throughout the day, I took a few seconds to jot it down. Some days, my post-it was full.