Thankfulness is an important part of happiness

In a couple of months it will the time of year in the U.S. for families to gather together for the Thanksgiving holiday and many choose to have dinner and share the things for which they are thankful.  You may find it surprising, but the act of expressing thankfulness and gratitude has an enormous affect on your body and mental state.

When a person expresses thankfulness, the brain releases an electro-chemical “soup” that affects the body in a positive way.  One of the most important components of this “soup” is its ability to affect the heart.  Remember how your heart beats fast when stressed or anxious?  Remember how it beats slow when you feel thankful, peaceful, and comfortable?  That’s due to the time it takes for a full heartbeat cycle, which lasts around .8 seconds.  When stressed, this time decreases.  When thankful, it increases by up to 1.20 seconds.  That’s a significant increase of 50%!  Why is that important?

The longer the full cycle time of the heartbeat, the more coherence a person is with their mind and heart.  You see, the brain has over 1 billion neurons and the heart has approximately 40,000 neurons.  The neurons of the heart have been scientifically shown to be the true thoughts and feelings of a person, whereas the brain neurons are thoughts and feelings that have been programmed.  People in this state of coherence are able to make better decisions and experience the sense of happiness and satisfaction so many people chase after.  Yet, achieving them is much easier than most people think and come from ways most people don’t consider. 

For instance, take a moment, close your eyes, and pay attention to your breathing. Now, imagine breathing directly through your heart, instead of your lungs. Notice how the breaths are slow and rhythmic and how you get a sense of alignment with your thoughts. There are instruments that measure the coherence of a person’s heart and mind and, while in this exercise, the rate of coherence rises, indicating a healthy state.

If you would you like to bring your heart and mind into a coherent state; building resilience, increasing energy, and promoting focus, mental clarity and emotional balance, feel free to contact me!