A positive outlook can have a strong positive effect on your brain and body. Studies have shown that having a positive attitude and feelings of thankfulness show beneficial effects on multiple body and brain systems. “Those include mood neurotransmitters… reproductive hormones… cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters… immune system… stress hormones” and blood pressure.
The brain’s “fundamental organizing principle” in life is to avoid threats and maximize rewards. “The brain’s primary reward chemical is called dopamine.” However we cannot feel rewards and threats unless we focus our attention on them, after an event comes to our attention, we then get neurotransmitters released that makes us feel good or bad. The fascinating thing is that the brain cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction, that is why you feel scared while watching horror movies, or you feel an adrenaline rush when you are watching an intense, fast pace, car chase scene. In the same way, feeling thankful and expressing positive feelings act as a “mental movie.” The brain releases dopamine, which, in turn, has a positive effect on mood and emotional well-being.
Showing gratitude helps us focus in on the “good stuff” that happens in our lives. On our new community site (www.amensolution.com ), we ask you to keep a journal every day, including 5 things you are grateful for. This has been shown in research to increase your level of happiness in just 3 weeks.