NOV 22, 2018 3:48 PM PST

The science of gratitude

On a day like Thanksgiving, it is easy to remember all that we are thankful for. But for a while now scientists have been trying to crack the code behind the hard science of gratitude. What researchers have determined is that gratitude is actually extremely powerful because it activates the reward center of the brain, and thus has the capability to change people’s behaviors.

Professor of psychology at Northeastern University explained on NPR: "Gratitude is an emotion that we feel when we believe that someone or something has given us something that we couldn't easily achieve on our own. It's there to change what we do next. People tend to think that gratitude is this passive thing — 'Oh, somebody helped me in the past and that's great.' But the reason we have any emotion is because it is designed to change what we do next, to be powerful in that way. So what gratitude does is it reminds us that other people — our parents, our friends, our family — have helped us, and therefore we feel that emotion and it makes us want to pay them back and to go above and beyond.”

Incorporating gratitude as an attitude in your life can bring you more happiness, improve your mental health and your outlook on life. So why not make every day Thanksgiving?

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
JAN 11, 2021
Immunology
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
JAN 11, 2021
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
Macrophages are a type of immune cell that can detect and destruct bacteria, viruses, and harmful materials. They a ...
JAN 13, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Identify Another Crucial Aspect for Planets to Support Life
JAN 13, 2021
Astronomers Identify Another Crucial Aspect for Planets to Support Life
For some time now, we have known of the 'Goldilocks zone'- a distance from the sun that leads to planets neither ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
MAR 06, 2021
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
For the first time, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found evidence of tectonic activity on a ...
MAR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Sea Slug Shows Extreme Case of Regeneration
MAR 09, 2021
Sea Slug Shows Extreme Case of Regeneration
Some of the most interesting—and possibly strangest—scientific discoveries happen by accident. According to ...
JUN 05, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
JUN 05, 2021
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
Researchers from Kobe University in Japan have found that heat generated by the impact of small astronomical bodies coul ...
Loading Comments...