Live Better. The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

APOTHEM exists to connect more people to the restorative power of high-quality CBD and plant botanicals so they have the freedom to live better every day.

The benefits of CBD oil help so many people experience a better quality of life and ‘Freedom to Live Better’ means different things to different people. It’s personal, just like each person’s journey with CBD.  Whether it’s enjoying more freedom to move, to create, to focus, to imagine, to feel, to connect, to disconnect….when your mind and body is in balance you are in a much better position to live the life you choose. 

This blog series shares tips and techniques that help us tune into life. Small ways to live a little bit better each day.  

Let’s start with the incredibly powerful practice of gratitude.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is the act of acknowledging and giving thanks for what you have in your life, rather than focusing on what you are lacking. It can be as simple as recognising how beautiful the sky is today or being grateful for something someone has done for you. More and more studies are showing that practicing gratitude results in feeling happier.

Why should I practice it?

Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions, build better relationships, and can even strengthen our immune system.  The shift in perspective from ‘state of lacking’ to ‘state of thankfulness’ is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. By consciously giving thanks for the little things, you limit the amount of time for toxic and negative thoughts, moving towards a happier state of being.

 “It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness.”

Gratitude and well-being

Gratitude has a positive impact on mental and physical well-being, on relationships, on stress, on our brain. In recent decades psychologists and mental health researchers have discovered an overwhelming connection between gratitude and good health.

Being grateful releases dopamine and serotonin – two neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and for making us feel good. These two chemical messengers enhance our mood and make us feel happy. If we practice gratitude regularly, these neural pathways get stronger and we can move towards living in a state of thankfulness – a permanent grateful, optimistic and positive way of being.

Multiple studies indicate that giving thanks can help with mental wellbeing, and help to build a strong, healthy psychological mentality, making us more able to deal with those tougher times when they come.

"Regular grateful thinking can increase happiness by as much as 25 percent." 

Gratitude’s effect on the brain

We know that gratitude has the ability to change the neural structures in the brain thanks to The Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Studies have shown that simple acts of kindness activate the hypothalamus in our brains. The hypothalamus is the area of the brain responsible for sleep cycles, emotions, blood pressure and heart rate, childbirth, thirst, temperature, sex drive, appetite and weight control. 

Gratitude can trigger regulation of the hypothalamus - allowing us to get a deeper and healthier sleep, better our memory and ultimately lead to happiness. Roland Zahn, a researcher in cognitive neurology found that “a brain filled with gratitude and kindness is more likely to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and energetic every morning”.

Patience is a virtue

Just like physical activity and fitness, gratitude requires time and dedication to see the change. One study showed that a group of people writing letters of gratitude reported significantly better mental health after just four weeks of writing. Twelve weeks later they reported a further difference, suggesting the effect improves over time

How do I practice it?

It can be as simple as thanking your bed as you make it in the morning or being grateful for a phone call from a friend. Take time to notice, to reflect on things that you are thankful for. These don’t have to be material; they don’t have to be big. It can be as simple as being grateful for the air that you breathe or each meal that you eat. Try making a list of the things that you love in your life, and you’ll be surprised how much you have to be grateful for. 

The key is awareness – of your thoughts, of your surroundings. When you are taking a walk try and notice the way roots of a tree are formed, or the feathers of a bird – nature can be incredibly awe inspiring.

Keep a gratitude journal. We love this one. Robert Emmons discovered that keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks results in better sleep and more energy, while authors of the Positive Psychology Progress also found that keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress and builds emotional awareness.

We're grateful for mother nature and the plants that power our collection of UK CBD products, for our community, and for each of our team members for all that they bring to APOTHEM.  What are you grateful for? 



The neural basis of human social values: evidence from functional MRI

Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson, 2005).