There is a simple five-minute ritual you can use every morning that scientists say could be the equivalent to the ultimate magic pill for ‘happiness’.
A 2008 study on subjects using this particular method found they were influencing their hypothalamus, which can have a positive impact on sleep, cravings, appetite, and even stress (1).
This ritual has also been scientifically proven to make your brain release more of the neurotransmitter – dopamine.
When your brain releases this chemical it’s the equivalent to taking an “all-natural” drug that stimulates the pleasure center of your brain.
It’s also responsible for the creation of new learning pathways.
And all you have to do get every single one of these positive benefits is take a few minutes every day to be grateful.
Gratefulness is the closest thing to a ‘magic pill’ you can take.
A 2003 study found that keeping a daily gratitude journal lead to an increased sense of well-being, better sleep, more willingness to accept change, and even helped lower symptoms of pain (2).
And there’s no doubt this can help you be more disciplined with your nutrition and exercise, while making every day in your life better.
There’s a small part of your brain called the Reticular Activation System (RAS) that determines the lenses through which you look at the world.
For example, have you ever noticed when you buy a new car and, all-of-a-sudden, you start noticing that same make and model everywhere you go?
– Or if you’re pregnant, you’ll notice pregnant women everywhere.
– If you’re on a diet, you’ll pay more attention to what other people eat.
– If somebody’s wearing the same shoes you just bought, you’ll immediately notice…etc. etc.
Your RAS can be a very powerful resource if you just take a few minutes daily to direct and guide it properly.
How Gratefulness Works in the Brain:
And when you write down what you’re grateful for, you’re influencing and programming your mind to be focused on activities that will make your day better.
You’re building new pathways in your brain that are directed towards positive actions and outcomes, so it automatically increases your happiness, well-being, and productivity.
So if you wake up in the morning, while you’re having your coffee (or tea), and you write down in your Gratitude Journal:
“I am grateful for…”
“What would make today great?”…
You’re making your RAS go to work for you.
This will automatically program your brain to focus on the precise things that will help you achieve your dreams, goals, and desires.
Another great trick is to simply write down two or three great things that happened in your day before going to bed.
This will program your subconscious to be more grateful.
Showing gratefulness, allows you to get all the bonus side effects listed above, plus you’re more likely to stick to your fitness plan because your RAS associates exercise and eating right with positive outcomes.
I discovered how powerful all this could be last week when I received a package in the mail from my great Canadian friend, Dan Go.
It contained two journals.
After opening the package and reviewing what he gave me I sent him this email.
I can’t thank you enough for The 5 Minute Journals bro.
When I first opened the package I was like, oh-no, another journal or planner 🙂
But then I remembered all your positive feedback on my newsletters to my readers addressing the mental and spiritual side of health and fitness, so I decided to read the intro and I’m glad I did. I’m hooked.
This journal really completes and complements the current strategies I use to feed my mind (goal cards, affirmations, daily devotions, etc.) and I love that it only takes 5 minutes.
Plus it’s making my evenings so much more productive and rewarding (when I usually slack off).
I’m on day 4 and already loving it man. My wife just got on board and started using hers, and it’s already helping her kick her PLOM disease (Poor Little Ole’ Me) to the curb…lol. She immediately noticed positive changes in her outlook.
Thanks again Dan. I plan on buying a few of these for other folks I care about.
Stay in touch.
A special “thanks” to Dan and the 5 minute journals he sent me, which inspired the content for today’s blog post.
As you can clearly see the science speaks for itself.
The simple act of taking 5 minutes per day to be grateful is another “hidden” secret to achieving your best body and life.
And if you think you don’t have anything to be grateful for, think again.
Just the act of reading this newsletter means you have more to be thankful and grateful for than 2/3 of the world.
It’s always a good reminder just in case YOU have PLOM disease. 🙂
Keep going strong.
Your grateful friend,
References on Gratefulness:
(1) The Neural Basis of Human Social Values: Evidence from Functional MRI, Zahn et al (2008)
(2) Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life, Emons and McCullough (2003)