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Your brain on gratitude: the perks of brazen thanksgiving

“Gratitude is some seriously powerful stuff.”–Emily Wenstrom

I’m heading to Orlando tomorrow to speak at the Hay House I Can Do It! conference. Among other things, there will be a huge celebration of Wayne Dyer’s life. If you want, you can lifestream it. For free. Click here for more info:

I’m preparing for the conference so thought I’d re-run a blog post that’s all about gratitude which, as you know, is the topic of the new book I just turned in. Enjoy!!

A couple years ago, I wrote a travel piece on the Cook Islands, a tiny nation of 15 spits of land, surrounded by millions of miles of ocean.

The 15,000 or so people who live in the Cooks rightfully believe they are blessed, that God has given them everything they could possibly need.

It’s an attitude that can’t help but provide. When someone shows up on this planet with a grateful heart and eyes seeking only things for which to be thankful, that’s exactly what they’ll find. Abundance aplenty.

Cook Islanders don’t need researchers to tell them that their feelings of thankfulness have a direct and beneficial effect on their brains, a finding scientists are reporting from labs all over Western universities.

By naturally focusing on positives, on how lucky and blessed they are living in these beautiful South Pacific islands, they’re rewarded with neurotransmitters like dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that form neural patterns of happiness. Their unending gratitude literally sculpts their brains which in turn increases their enthusiasm and energy and lowers their stress.

Consequently, their neural pathways are markedly different than those of us in the West that are conditioned to shine our spotlights on what we resent or regret or what we think is “wrong with the world.”

Renee Jain, a coach of positive psychology, says most Westerners have a negativity bias where “bad stuff” outweighs the good 3:1. Think of all the good drugs (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin) we’re missing out on by our bitching.

That’s why my mission in life is to be like the Cook Islanders, to focus only on the supreme beneficence of the universe.

I consciously choose to believe such thoughts as:

Life is freaking awesome.
The universe is bounteous and forever generous.
Something miraculous is bound to happen to me today.

Today, I say thank you for all the blessings that are barreling my way, all the abundance, the joy, the peace of mind that I count on day after day. To my way of thinking, responding to any other reality is simply irresponsible.

So tell me … what are you grateful for?

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the recently-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

29 Responses

  1. One of my signature songs is “There will be a miracle…stick around and see” by Michael John LaChiusa. (Yes, I’m grateful for the voices and vision of more obscure songwriters and composers.) So I guess I’m saying, I’m grateful for gratitude practice. Why not live like the kids in the old joke “With all this sh*t there must be a pony in here somewhere!”

    1. LOVE IT! With all the sh*t I’ve been through during my stroke rehab, to be finally able to get to the barn to find that pony is such a blessing! That’s gratitude!

  2. Hi, Pam, somehow the Universe, “the Dude” sent your message to me today and I REALLY needed it! My daughter who has MS, was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, my husband who has several skeletal “issues” has had a very challenging week with pain. I have been in “down mode ” feeling overwhelmed. As I read your blog post I realized that my being overwhelmed was the last thing we needed! I was making everything worse by focusing on the “bad”. I have so much to be thankful for. My daughter has excellent medications for her MS, she got a good report that she did not have anything that could not be helped by some antibiotics ( it was not Mers or SARS etc!), she is in an excellent hospital, getting good care. My husband has a PT appointment for this afternoon and we have excellent medical access. I have them both in my life which is a blessing, itself! I am healthy. We have food, water, good, comfortable housing, enough money, our wonderful son-in-love cares lovingly for our daughter, our other daughter and her husband and son are in good health and our granddaughter just passed a key exam in her grad school program. We are blessed! Thank you for your reminder to be grateful! Also, I am grateful for you, your blogs, your books and your work!

  3. I am freaked happy to be alive with every breath I am given and for every step I can walk and everything in between. With tons of love and happiness, Lorelei

  4. I am grateful for my family my youngest son and I are in the process of starting a Positve vibe news feed. This will be shared on our social media pages. Nothing big we are two individuals that believe we need Positve news to be heard more. We are excited to start and the clips will be about 3-5 min with just a touch on some Positve news in our area and Around the world. gratitude is the new attitude <3 be Positve and stay true to you!

  5. The world will never have too many, and so I am grateful for the many good Cooks you have brought into our lives.

    1. I’m am grateful I got the last spoonful of almond butter today.
      And so it goes. Also the massage I’m going to have in about an hour. Life is good.

  6. So grateful to be WALKING again! I’m free from the cane, only use it when I go out. Yeah! I have to remind myself that 6 mos ago I was in hospital rehab and begging someone to turn me over. My sweet husband is still cooking most meals but I can manage a tuna sandwich alone, and did 2 hrs of weeding yesterday (with my cane right next to me, and hubby shifted me around on my stool.) It can be done! Thank you for all the encouragement, as I have had my “down days” during these months, watching from the couch as the world went by, but I am on the mend, and really needed this blog and your books to keep me sane! OH! News flash:I used my walker as a plant support for some volunteer squash that came back on its own. How’s that for serendipity?

  7. Hi Pam,
    Simply Reading stuff on gratitude makes me feel so wonderful. Imagine how beautiful it would be to actually feel gratitude. This is one of the most significant discoveries

  8. I have practiced the joy of being grateful as I strugle to move forward.It provides me with courage and ability to share this gift known as being grateful.I have taught a family member to start her day remembering 5 reasons she is grateful.Her life has turned around as has mine.Thank you Pam for teaching me and showing me the gift of Gratitude.You are a treasure

  9. Hi Pam :):)!!!
    I am grateful for everything that happens because, thanks to you & all the other awesome people like you , it is getting easier to tell when my frequency has slipped to KFKD & I can tune back in to KDVB & boogie on with my amazingly awesome life :):)

  10. I keep a daily gratitude journal on Onenote. I have for years. A few months ago, I stopped using it for some reason. I guess I got busy doing other stuff and just forget to write down what I’m grateful for?

    Interestingly, during the past few months I’ve had less abundance than I’m used to. It’s like it all started to slowly drain out, and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that the time frame coincided with my journal! I’m just hopping back on the wagon, but I’m convinced that my lack of gratitude played the biggest part in what’s been going on lately.

    1. Sometimes I am just grateful I have shoes on my feet. Then I get more specific and look at all the shoes I actually have, then I see that I don’t always wear them all, then Ill pull those non used shoes out and donate them. Then I feel really good.
      Its something about passing it on to others that keeps me balanced

  11. I am grateful for reaching a point of self actualisation and to the field for bringing me in contact with you and your books😇

  12. I’m grateful for being able to do the things I love, I’m grateful for my wonderful girlfriend, for my constant growth and development, and for being a handsome young man, full of energy and enthusiasm 🙂

    Inspiring post, thank you! 🙂

    p.s.: Check out my blog as well, if you feel like:

  13. Thank you Pam!!! We all need to hear and read this! I have encountered so many synchronicities since consciously applying LOA and also reading your amazing books! Sending you my best wishes!

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