Word for Wednesday: Gratitude

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” Randy Pausch

Gratitude: Since beginning this blog in 2015, I have mentioned gratitude numerous times and written about gratitude several times, including:
Posted on August 20, 2021, “Parkinson’s- Reflection on Friday- Gratitude”
Posted on January 25, 2019, “Brief Report: Contentment, Gratitude, and Mindfulness in the Presence of Parkinson’s”
Posted on April 14, 2018, “Understanding The Positive Health Benefits of Gratitude”
Posted on May 18, 2015, “Contentment, Gratitude, And Mindfulness”

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” Lionel Hampton

Gratitude is Giving Thanks: Karl Barth said, “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” Your collective days filled with joyous feelings are giving thanks to everything before this point and currently with you at this moment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Live your life with a foundation of gratitude underneath you; it reinforces all that is good with your life today.

“… because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Wallace D. Wattles

Science of Gratitude: Two regions of your brain, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the basal ganglia, balance the network of neurons needed for emotion, sensation, and action. Part of the fuel to promote gratitude are neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine). The ACC releases serotonin when feelings of gratitude are expressed. The ACC is a target for the dopamine-expressing neurons from the substantia nigra (part of the basal ganglia).  The substantial nigra releases dopamine when we are expressing the benefits of gratitude when we are happy.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Breaultin the

Parkinson’s and Gratitude: Maybe you think that if you have Parkinson’s, your capacity to feel/express gratitude will diminish due to reduced dopamine levels. I cannot answer that. The physiology and psychology of gratitude are complex and mediated by several brain regions.

This blog post’s main point is to reinforce gratitude’s positive benefits. I went to a restaurant very early this morning to order takeout. Because of the early time and the lack of people wanting breakfast, I was helped by four of the six waitpersons. It was a mutual show of gratitude from all of us, hopefully leaving everyone with a smile and happy thoughts from our brief interaction.

Yes, it’s no fun living with Parkinson’s. However, we all hopefully are grateful for many things done to help support the life with this disorder. Thus, think about it briefly. Do you believe things happen daily to us that we can say thank you?

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” Albert Einstein

Cover Photo Image from thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/

Quote photo credit by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay

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