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Thoughts From Our Director

The Science Behind Gratitude

In my blog post on November 1, you were invited to participate in a gratitude challenge. I know many of you started, and I hope you all finished the challenge and feel better as a result.  Neuroscientists have discovered that practicing gratitude releases the happiness hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is nicknamed the “happiness hormone” because of its association and release during sensations of happiness or intense satisfaction. Sounds like the drug, oxycodone, right? Well, it is natures form of this same substance.

Another “feel good” chemical which the brain releases during acts of gratitude is dopamine. Dopamine turns on our brain’s learning centers and allows us to feel more energized, motivated, and content with our present situation. This, in turn, leads to heightened levels of concentration, which causes higher levels of productivity.  Thus, increases overall work-related success and happiness.

All in all, the practice of gratitude improves our life. So, why stop now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over? Please continue this practice through the new year and I’m curious about your results so far. What have you noticed since you began your new habit of noticing and writing about all you are thankful for?

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