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What makes you happy? Is it a brand new car, a new pair of shoes or a new friend? They say money can’t buy happiness, but studies show perhaps being grateful can. One recent study stated that those subjects expressing gratitude were significantly more satisfied with their lives compared to those not expressing gratitude. A 2009 study presented evidence for the neural basis for this phenomenon, showing that gratitude stimulates the area of our brain responsible for the pleasure sensation and stress reduction. A British research firm found one smile provides the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars! It has been documented that smiling reduces stress, increases health and lowers blood pressure. I am not recommending that you go around smiling every minute, but staying focused on things you are grateful for in both your professional and personal life can not only can increase your own happiness but can influence the mood of your co-workers or boss as well. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina have even shown a genetic predisposition toward expressed gratitude and subsequent happiness. Other studies indicated that expressing gratitude can elevate the mood of those around you as well, revealing that those with a propensity to express anger reduced such propensity when shown gratitude.

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Stuart Levine

Credit Union Times

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