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In the midst of the daily grind, it’s easy to overlook the transformative power of gratitude. 

Studies published by Harvard now show that expressing gratitude has profound effects on our mental and emotional well-being. 

But other than remembering to say “thank you!”, what are some practical ways to infuse gratitude (and its powerful benefits!) into everyday life?

It’s All In Your Head: The Neurology of Gratitude

Not a neuroscientist? No worries—fortunately, understanding how gratitude impacts the brain doesn’t require a Phd.

Several studies have revealed that practicing gratitude can have a direct impact on the brain’s structure and function. 

One key player is the prefrontal cortex – the brain region associated with decision-making, emotional regulation, and complex thinking.

When we express gratitude, the prefrontal cortex lights up, releasing dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters commonly linked to happiness and pleasure.

These “feel-good” chemicals not only lift our mood, but also contribute to a “positive feedback loop”, reinforcing the habit of gratitude. 

In simple terms? The next time we have the choice between saying thanks and dismissing kindness, we’re more likely to choose gratitude. 

Want to really impress your friends with your braininess? 

Gratitude influences the brain’s hypothalamus, a small (but crucial!) part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety. 

By fostering feelings of appreciation, we dampen the production of cortisol—the stress hormone—leading to a calmer, more centered state of mind.

7 Tips to Cultivate Gratefulness

Now that you know the neural underpinnings of gratitude, let’s talk about practical ways you can  cultivate gratitude in daily life.

1. Practice Mindful Thanking

In today’s world, it’s easy to overlook the small, everyday moments that bring us joy. Kind actions, like a stranger letting you merge into traffic, are quickly overshadowed by the driver who cut you off a mile down the road.

Engaging in “mindful thanking” teaches our minds to anticipate and relish the good

Danielle LaPorte famously says, “What you celebrate expands.” 

If we think about our attention like brain fertilizer, we’ll begin to move through life with more awareness about what thoughts and behaviors we ‘feed’.

By taking a few moments each day to reflect on the positive experiences you’ve had—whether it’s a delicious meal, a supportive coworker, or a good book–you’ll rewire your brain to consciously acknowledge (and savor) these moments.

2. Create a Gratitude Ritual

Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine by creating a ritual. 

This could be as simple as reflecting on what you’re thankful for during your morning coffee or as intentional as incorporating a 20-minute gratitude meditation into your evening routine. 

Remember: your brain LOVES patterns. 

And because what you do repeatedly becomes easier with each try, consistency is key when rewiring your brain for joy through gratitude.

3. Express Your Gratitude

It’s simple: don’t keep your gratitude to yourself. 

Instead of bottling up all your warm, tender feelings, take the time to express appreciation to the people who helped make you feel that way. 

It could mean a phone call, returning a favor, or a simple face-to-face acknowledgment the next time you’re together. 

In the end, sharing your gratitude not only strengthens your social connections, but also spreads positivity, enhancing your relationships with others.

4. Know Your Life Blocks

Human beings were wired for survival, not happiness.

Thousands of years ago, when our primary goal was to outrun and outsmart wild animals, emotional intelligence wasn’t an important, necessary part of our day-to-day life.

Today, in 2024, it is. 

For this reason, understanding your base instincts and psychological wiring is a crucial part of beginning to rewire your mind for happiness.

The Life Block Quiz was created to help you understand how your behaviors and personality can be harnessed for thriving instead of surviving. 

Once you master your “why”, you can begin to master the “how” of living in a state of gratefulness.

View Challenges as Opportunities for Growth

Even in incredibly difficult times, there are silver linings. 

When faced with challenges, train your brain to find aspects for which you can be grateful. 

Now, this shift in perspective doesn’t undermine the difficulty of the situation; but it does allow you to focus on the potential for growth and learning. 

By taking time to put your energy ON what you want to see more of, instead of pushing AWAY what you dislike, you can nurture the good and cultivate gratitude—even in dark, uncertain places.

The Ripple Effect of Gratitude

One of the best parts of living a thankful life? The benefits of gratitude extend beyond your individual well-being.

In fact, they ripple through social connections, intimate relationships, and entire communities. 

As you cultivate a habit of thankfulness, you become a positive force in the lives of those around you.

Strengthening Social Bonds

Expressing gratitude fosters deeper connections with others. 

When you acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of friends, family, and colleagues, you strengthen the bonds that tie you together. 

This sense of interconnectedness contributes to a more supportive and harmonious social environment—with joy and positivity flowing at the center of it all.

Cultivating a Positive Workplace

In the professional realm, gratitude has the power to completely transform workplace dynamics. 

Acknowledging the efforts of your colleagues not only boosts their morale, but also creates a positive atmosphere that enhances teamwork and productivity. 

Inspiring Acts of Kindness

It’s simple: gratitude is contagious. 

When you express appreciation, you inspire others to do the same. 

The cycle of kindness that develops—sort of like pushing a ball down a hill—generates forward momentum that’s hard to stop once started. 

Gratitude creates a positive feedback loop, fostering a culture of gratitude in your immediate surroundings (and beyond).


By understanding the neurology of gratitude and implementing practical, useful tips to cultivate thankfulness in our lives, we not only rewire our brains for happiness—we also contribute to a more positive and interconnected world.

As you commit to a life of increased gratitude, remember: much like a muscle, gratitude is a skill that’s strengthened and refined over time. 

Be patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and embrace the transformation from a life wired for survival into a life rewired for lasting happiness.


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Ronda is a Peak Performance Coach focusing on Life Coaching and the Mental Wellbeing of Athletes in her practice. She is also contracted through a large Division 1 University program to work with their athletes as a mental coach. She specializes in fear, pressure, adversity, uncertainty, removing obstacles, anxiety, doubt, recovering from injuries or setbacks, and identity beyond a sport or a role. She provides a proactive approach to the mental health of athletes and teams on wellbeing and the mental side of the game. Ronda is also an accomplished athlete herself and spent five seasons as a head coach for a Professional Women’s Hockey team in the Premier Hockey Federation, and is a scout for the Nashville Predators of the NHL.

Ronda’s education includes undergraduate studies in Psychology, a Masters in School Counseling and post graduate certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ, and is certified as an Applied Positive Psychology coach, specializing in Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching, Teamwork and Collaboration. While Ronda has specialized in the athletic mindset, she is passionate about helping any person wanting to uncover what is possible and learn to use their mind as an asset for reaching their full potential.


Sylvia Halligan is a mind-body mental agility and change management coach. She helps organizations successfully lead and navigate change, make it stick, and empower individuals to transform into flourishing, thriving beings. Her personal coaching practice incorporates a blend of eastern philosophy practices backed by western science. Interventions include guided visualization, hypnosis, breath work, embodiment, energy psychology, positive psychology, and neuroscience.

Sylvia is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), holds certifications in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and Applied Positive Psychology Coaching (CAPP), and is an ICF credentialed Associate Certified Coach (ACC). She is also a Prosci-Certified Change Management Practitioner and certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Specialties: Leading organizations through change and making it stick. Guiding individual change journeys through holistic mind-body coaching. Teaching people to thrive, not just survive.


Anjali is a Holistic Health & Positive Psychology Pracitioner. As a naturally intuitive, compassionate, and deeply empathetic coach, Anjali creates an environment for her clients that allows them to truly understand the connection of how the mind and body coexist and relate to one another. Assisting clients in understanding the mind & body connection, how blocked emotions can reappear in emotional patterning or physical alignments in the body, and aids in healing through the use of various techniques, including The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ.

Anjali holds degrees in Communications and an MBA, along with post graduate degrees and certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, Integrative Holistic Health Coaching and Breathwork.ᵀᴹ


Marjolein is a trainer, facilitator and coach, specializing in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership. In her individual coaching practice, Marjolein works with people to educate and empower them with the tools from Positive Psychology, Self Compassion and Emotional Intelligence. Her work with corporations includes embedding innovative, human-centric mindset coaching, training and facilitation. She’s a Senior Leadership Facilitator for THNK, The School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam, Netherlands where she develops global leaders in international corporations to unlock their full potential in leading themselves, and others, for greater impact.

Marjolein holds certifications in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and is an Applied Positive Psychology coach. She is also trained in Self Compassion, through the thought leader in this space, Kristen Neff, and is certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Marjolein holds a Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences and Post Graduate degrees in Management and Positive Psychology.