Grateful Or Grumpy: The Choice Is Yours

How to practice gratitude when you… don’t feel grateful.

A gratitude experiment by my two friends — Sílvia Bastos and Michal Korzonek.
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

The power of gratitude, or where experience and research meet

Let’s begin with some science stuff — shall we?

“As the mind changes, the brain changes. (…) Mental activity can produce changes in neural activity. (…) You can use your mind to change your brain to change your mind for the better.” — Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson is a renowned neuroscientist and psychologist exploring links between the physical structure of the brain and consciousness. Over years of research, he has found that cultivating certain mental habits and attitudes creates and strengthens certain neural pathways, which, in turn, influence our mental and emotional reactions. This happens due to neuroplasticity; the brain evolves all our life, according to what we feed it mentally and emotionally.

The simplest gratitude experiment

“Gratitude has been conceptualized as an emotion, a virtue, a moral sentiment, a motive, a coping response, a skill, and an attitude. It is all of these and more. Minimally, gratitude is an emotional response to a gift. It is the appreciation felt after one has been the beneficiary of an altruistic act” — Emmons & Crumpler

I have experienced very real consequences of gratitude, and therefore I feel I can testify to Rick Hanson’s scientific findings. The more I feel grateful and appreciative of what I have, the easier it is for me to progress and accomplish even more. Not to mention that feeling and expressing gratitude has an immediate effect on my perceived quality of life.

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Sílvia Bastos

I create my own reality, which means that I am responsible for the quality of my experience.

In this case, I get to choose whether or not I put attention and effort into practicing gratitude — and later, I feel the effects of my decision. No matter how grumpy I feel, I always have the possibility of putting a smile on my face and initiating transformation of my experience. I always have the possibility of mentioning something positive in a conversation, instead of producing complains. These things are a matter of choice, and not some mysterious fate.

Written by

What if you stopped treating your ego as the enemy and befriended it instead? To find out, read my new book, Ego-Friendly:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store