How Does Gratitude Work

Born to Prosper – How Does Gratitude Work – Shane Krider


This week we aired our Born to Prosper show where we answered the question How Does Gratitude Work where I shared how the power of gratitude is the key to unlocking your hidden potential.

It was important for me to discuss the benefit of practising gratitude early on in our podcast series because it’s a fundamental key to successfully transforming your life through personal development. Without gratitude, your journey will be a lot more arduous.

What is gratitude? It’s the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for, and to return kindness.

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What can gratitude bring about in your life? Absolutely anything! Gratitude can bring about the space for positive acceptance for everything around you; for true forgiveness, allowing you to cut the cord on those grievances; you gain compassion, courage and honesty through gratitude. It also allows you to see the true perception and context of your situation and easier ways to manoeuvre through it.

To grasp the true power of gratitude and how does gratitude work it’s important to understand the brain science behind it. And it’s exciting for me to share this with you because when I learnt about this it was a huge light bulb moment for me!

The absence of gratitude creates chronic stress, which is an enemy of the brain and body. Deane Alban has a great article published on Be Brain Fit, which outlines the effects of chronic stress on your brain. I highly recommend you check it out.

To summarize, here are the twelve effects that chronic stress have on your brain:

  • Stress contains free radicals that kill brain cells
  • Stress makes you forgetful and emotional
  • Stress creates a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety
  • Stress halts the production of new brain cells
  • Stress depletes critical brain chemicals creating depression
  • Stress puts you at greater risk of mental illness of all kinds
  • Stress makes you stupid
  • Chronic stress shrinks your brain
  • Stress lets toxins into your brain
  • Chronic stress increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Stress causes brain cells to commit suicide
  • Stress contributes to brain inflammation and depression

The brain science of gratitude – and I go into more detail about this on our How Does Gratitude Work Video – is connected to stress. When you’re stressed out, the blood flow in your brain actually changes. The brain diverts the blood from the front of your brain (which houses your ability to express higher reasoning and empathy) to the centre of your brain (which houses your basic survival instincts of fight or flight).

To get you out of that stressed mode of thinking and to reallocate the blood flow back to your empathy zone, you have to exercise something I touched on in last week’s podcast, you have to switch your mode of thought. And because you can’t think of two things at once – stop and think about things you’re grateful for. This will close down your stress-fuelled mindset.

Your brain will switch gears and the blood will start flowing again. You’ll leave that fight or flight mode and get back into optimal brain and body functionality.

It takes practise, but you’ll be very grateful once you’ve mastered it! You’ll start feeling healthier, become more attractive, be more approachable and genuinely happy.

Here is my three-step checklist to help you create a gratitude culture:

1. Openly practise gratitude with:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Co-workers
  • Strangers

2. Be prepared to receive gratitude

3. Encourage others to share their gratitude

If you’re interested in further detail on how to implement these steps, check out our Gratitude Video above this post, where we mention the Soul Pancake – experiment in gratitude YouTube clip, which demonstrates an excellent way to encourage others to share gratitude and the outpouring of love it generates. It’s awesome!

Changing the way you think about anything will change it. Gratitude absolutely amplifies it. The more you put in, the more you get out. My own personal results with gratitude could have been braver earlier in my journey. I could have achieved greater results faster if I’d been bolder with this process. But now, I’m truly grateful to practise this daily.

Thank you for your attention and appreciation.