I recently saw the movie ‘Pay it forward’ again, and it reminded me of a gift of kindness I had received once from a stranger. I had met with an accident and fainted on the road-side. When I came around, I was surrounded by a lot of concerned people. They helped me sit up, gave me water to drink, asked how I was feeling, and slowly the crowd dispersed. But one lady stayed by me. She insisted on taking me to a clinic and got me first-aid. She waited until I boarded my ride back home. I was touched by her concern and was thankful for her support. Even though I took that route many times later, I never saw her again.
I know that this incident made me notice the good samaritans that we have around us all the time. I remain grateful to this person for their help that day and also for enhancing my appreciation of the kindness and generosity in the world at large.
With the stress and anxiety at a peak due to the global pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of all that is good in life. But these are the times when we need to take a few moments diligently to acknowledge our blessings in life. While the systematic study of gratitude by psychologists began around the year 2000, there is a lot of scientific evidence to prove that gratitude changes the mind.
|Brain activity when gratitude is expressed/received||Impact|
|Dopamine and serotonin are released||– Enhanced mood and feelings of happiness |
– Motivation to exercise and manage health
– Reduced pain
|The limbic system is activated||– Generates kindness and generosity|
– Toxic emotions are released
– Better sleep
|Reduction in cortisol||– Better cardiac functioning|
– More resilience to emotional setbacks and negative experiences
|Increase in the neural modulation of the prefrontal cortex||– Lesser negative emotions (shame, guilt, violence) |
– Lesser depression and anxiety
It is clear that practicing gratitude, does not just feel good, it has physical, social, and psychological benefits too.
Today when we need to practice physical distancing to protect ourselves and others, the social emotion of gratitude is ever more important. Acknowledging, how we have been supported by others, reinforces our connection as humans and takes the edge off the mandate of physical distancing.
If gratitude practice is not a habit for you currently, try writing 3 things/people you are grateful to and why at the end of every day. Review your notes after 30 days and do share your experience with me.
Brilliantly Written Mam. Keep Sharing 🙂
Very clearly expressed. I had read this concept elsewhere and was aware of it, but you have explained it in much clearer terms. Especially the references to how genuine gratitude has direct effects (positive ones) to your body and mind. Thanks. Sending you gratitude!
This story reminded, one of my incidents. You know showing little care and gratitude at the right time, gives so much peace and calmness to your mind.
Beautifully carved out a combination of human values and science. Couple of incidents from my experience and now after reading the article, see the benefits.
1. During our childhood summer days, our parents / grand-parents would usually put a bowl of water under a shade for birds, prepare / serve a piece of bread (or roti) for cow or probably a street dog. All such things are little examples of gratitude towards other beings.
OR they would always serve Postman (those days we recd mail by him) a glass of water / Roof Afza / orange flavoured drink (before Sodas invaded).
Now after reading this article, I am able to relate those childhood memories and how they have been & probably still are returning Good to me.
2. Bad things happen at work; juniors / colleagues sometimes messes things up OR even at home when kids mess things up – Before raising voice / penning down a stinker, think once, if that person ever did any good to you or helped you in the past. Probably doing extra work during critical times or helping you resolve an issue. If yes, this may reduce your current stress level and help improve health too (per article above).
Keep it going Neelima & Manisha; your articles are beautiful read for Monday morning.
Thanks for sharing Neelima! Appreciate it