A recent experimental study sought to determine the effects of gratitude practice on self-reported loneliness and health in older individuals. Researchers determined that regular practice of gratitude led to a decrease in perceived loneliness in aging individuals as well as an increase in positive health reports. On days when individuals reported high levels of gratitude, they also reported a greater sense of well being and fewer physical health symptoms. Additionally, it has been found that for aging adults, reflecting on positive past life events and expressing gratitude around those events may also increase life satisfaction and well being.
Expressions of gratitude through activities such as gratitude meditation have been found to have direct impacts on the function of our brain. A recent study found that the part of the brain called the amygdala–which is thought to be the control center for emotional processing and attention–is greatly affected by a regular meditation practice. After an 8-week meditation practice, meditation practitioners exhibited a lower activation of their amygdala and a faster return to baseline activation after viewing phrases of negative self-belief and negative emotional stimuli while in a non-meditative state. In short, implementing a regular gratitude meditation practice can help you better manage negative emotions and increase our levels of self-belief and acceptance.