According to researchers at Berkeley, practicing gratitude has lasting effects on emotions and the brain. (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain). Looking for and focussing on good things can change how we see the world. Of course being thankful doesn’t make the bad things in the world go away. But it can rewire your brain by creating new connections to the bliss center, enhancing production of serotonin and dopamine, and managing stress hormones.
Christina Costa is a PhD student studying psychology and dealing with a brain tumor. She began practicing daily gratitude to help her cope. You can hear her story and the outcomes of her research here:
When I hit a low point several years ago, I began looking for small things around me that I thought were cool. I took pictures, wrote haikus, and combined them to create scrapbook pages on an app called PicCollage. I noticed that activity occupied my brain and gave it something to do besides ruminating. I also noticed on days when I created these collages, I felt happier!
Now I keep a daily gratitude journal on instagram. I consciously look for cool things around me and take pictures to post. Don’t get me wrong - I still get angry about all the injustice in our world! And I still get depressed about all kinds of things. But I can balance those emotions with feelings of wonder and happiness just by noticing a cool flower, or a great sunset, or a tasty dessert. You can visit my gratitude journal here: