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  • Fe Robinson

Lift your mood, drug free

I remember when I first heard about the positive benefits of being grateful. It was more years ago than I care to count, when positive psychology was not yet trendy. My first response was 'yeah, right, count my blessings and I'll feel better, not likely!'

I can't count the number of clients I've seen since who have made a real difference to the way they feel by doing a simple gratitude exercise on a regular basis.

I'm pleased to say neuroscience is now able to explain why it is that gratitude is so good for us. Two things are going on:

1. The process of searching our minds for things we are grateful for, in itself, causes the release of a hormone that lifts our mood - dopamine. This happens even if we can't actually find something to be grateful for, it's the seeking that does the trick.

2. When we identify things we are grateful for, we increase serotonin production, a natural anti-depressant. This is the same thing prozac does.

We don't need to find grand reasons to be grateful, it can be as small as a beautiful sunrise, a child's smile, a favourite taste or anything else that gives you that warmth in your heart. Anxiety and low moods are interrupted regardless of what it is we are grateful for.

Why not take 5 minutes each day to identify ten things you are grateful for? Remember, it's not just about finding ten, it's also about making that effort to seek them, so don't give up if they take some time to come to mind.


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