Happy Dopamine-Day

assorted cooked foods

Thanksgiving is a powerful thing.

Not the holiday.

Well, that too.

I like the holiday. It’s nice. Probably our favourite ‘adopted’ holiday of the year.

But thanksgiving, gratefulness, gratitude… It’s powerful!

When we practice thanksgiving or gratefulness we activate a part of the brain that is associated with cognitive and emotional processes and it releases a hormone called dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that helps feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation.

The authors of the Psalms in The Bible identify gratefulness as a key to an increased awareness of the presence of God in our lives.

Just to name one of the more obvious quotations:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.”

–Psalm 100 in The Bible

Dopamine is also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone.

Expressing gratefulness can literally renew the mind. It has the power to create new neural pathways in the brain. If we learn how to incorporate our five senses in the experience, the new pathways are even more likely to stay.

It’s like a rerouted river creating its own new riverbed over time.

Here’s a question for you for today. I hope you can find some time for this little exercise in between food prep and table decorations.

What if you engaged your five senses right now and thought of one thing you could be thankful for today? Don’t just think about it. Write it down and notice how it will help you give your gratefulness definition.

I created a short form to jump in and join the gratefulness experience. Take one minute for some gratitude and you get the dopamine release for free. Sounds like a deal, right? If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for me, because I’m just curious what others are thankful for today.

Scroll down for the form and get ready for your free dopamine release of the day.

And if you really want to rewire the brain, don’t expect that to happen with one gratefulness-session a year. Make gratefulness a habit.

That’s all for now. If you’ve been following along you might have noticed I have started posting some fun inspiration and hands-on tools for leaders in the past few weeks.

Pro-tip? Ask each member of your team to answer this simple question: ‘what is something you appreciate about our team today?’ Or try it our in your family if you’re feeling inspired. Simple thankfulness for instant positivity.

Did you try the form or practiced some gratitude with your team? Perhaps around your family dinner? Can’t wait to hear in the comments.

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