Last week, I shared the amazing quote from Dr. Bruce Lipton that has profoundly impacted me – “Our thoughts change our biochemistry, which changes the behavior of our cells.” I am still in awe of that power and reminded that “as a (wo)man thinketh, so is (s)he.” In the epigenetic sense, our thoughts and attitudes of gratitude can transform us beyond feeling happier. As I continue to study Functional Medicine and get to the very root cause of disease, I’ve learned that sometimes the root cause is one of emotional or spiritual origin. In today’s blog, I will focus more on the emotional and spiritual aspects of Gratitude and how it can transform and heal us.
As I wrote last week, keeping a gratitude journal has been transformative for me. Science has validated this impact with others in clinical studies, showing that it leads to less stress overall, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions,” stated Zig Ziglar
Indeed, gratitude is more than just a fleeting feeling; it has lasting effects on our emotional well-being. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can influence gene expression, particularly in genes associated with stress responses and emotional regulation. By expressing gratitude regularly, we can potentially downregulate the expression of stress-related genes, making us less vulnerable to conditions like anxiety and depression. In fact, practicing gratitude,
Gratitude practices have been associated with increased levels of empathy and prosocial behavior. A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies revealed that individuals who regularly practiced gratitude were more likely to exhibit prosocial behaviors, such as helping others and being compassionate. This emotional aspect of gratitude enhances our connections with others and fosters more fulfilling relationships.
Moreover, a study of undergraduate students found that gratitude diminishes envy.
Gratitude is a cornerstone of many spiritual and religious traditions, and its epigenetic effects provide insights into the spiritual transformation it can bring.
Indeed, if we focus on “every good gift and every perfect gift from above” (James 1:17), it draws us to acknowledge that these gifts “cometh down from the Father,” or Heavenly Father, who is aware of all of us, individually! I am reminded when I am focusing on gratitude that indeed, He wants to bless me with abundance in all areas of my life.
Gratitude practices have been linked to increased feelings of interconnectedness and transcendence. A study published in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality found that individuals who regularly engaged in gratitude exercises reported higher levels of spirituality and a greater sense of connection to something greater than themselves.
Furthermore, gratitude isn’t just about feeling good; it’s about deepening our spiritual connection and finding more meaning in life.
One of the meditations I listen to, at least a few times a week, is by Brooke Snow in her Co-Create App, entitled PRAISE. This beautiful meditation which recites the many attributes of God for over 11 minutes, immediately fosters incredible gratitude and humility for all of my blessings and how God continues to show in my life, day in and day out. This has been a powerful ritual to do before I begin my prayers.
What if we were to do this with the people we loved? What if we recited some of their beautiful traits before we conversed with them? Do you think it would change your interaction? I think it would change marriages, families, communities, and the world!
Gratitude is a multifaceted emotion that influences both our emotional well-being and our spiritual connection. Its epigenetic effects provide us with a scientific basis for embracing gratitude as a powerful tool for personal growth and inner peace. By cultivating gratitude in our lives, we not only feel better emotionally, but we also open doors to a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment on our spiritual journey. Gratitude transforms our hearts and souls, making us more compassionate, interconnected, and spiritually enriched. All of this, according to Dr. Lipton, will also transform our gene expression and our physical health. So, join the movement of an attitude of gratitude and transform your body, mind, and spirit, too!