By now, most of us have heard the news: grateful people are happier, healthier and generally more fulfilled.
And while these are all really great side effects of gratitude, for me, one of the coolest things about gratitude is the way it affects the heart. The heart creates an electromagnetic field that expands up to five feet from the body. Its electrical field is 60 times stronger in amplitude than that of the brain.
Studies show that when people cultivate positive feelings, the heart’s frequency changes and its waves become smoother and more consistent, while anxiety or stress caused waves to be shorter and less organized. Though most positive feelings were capable of affecting the heart in this way, researchers noted that gratitude changed the heart’s rhythm more easily and faster than any of the others.
What’s more is that this frequency can even “entrain” hearts and brains nearby. It’s especially likely that the heart with smoothest, most “coherent” frequency will be the heart that other people sync up with. So if you’re cultivating gratitude, it’s probable that you’re changing the feeling state of those around you for the better too.
Basically, even when we aren’t aware of it, our heart is constantly communicating with those around us. But as complex as it all may seem, intuitively, it seems that humans have been aware of this chatting between hearts for quite some time.
It may be the reason we say we’re having a “heart to heart” with someone when we’re engaged in an intimate, sincere conversation.
So when Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” he made an interesting point indeed. Our bodies are talking. And physiologically, it’s gratitude whose message is the loudest. We’re affecting each other in ways we may have never even pondered.
Choose your company wisely, but find comfort in the idea that gratitude has a way of trumping all. Keep gratitude flowing in your own heart, and you can change the world around you without lifting a finger.
Ode to Thanks
by Pablo Neruda
Thanks to the word that says thanks!
Thanks to thanks,
iron and snow!
The world is a threatening place
makes the rounds
from one pair of lips to another,
soft as a bright
and sweet as a petal of sugar,
filling the mouth with its sound
or else a mumbled
Life becomes human again:
it’s no longer an open window.
A bit of brightness
strikes into the forest,
and we can sing again beneath the leaves.
Thanks, you’re the medicine we take
to save us from
the bite of scorn.
Your light brightens the altar of harshness.
to far distant peoples.
into the wilds,
and in the jungle
while the hustling train
sweeping away borders,
clinging to pointy
volcanoes, to fire and freezing cold,
or danke, yes! and gracias, and
the world turns into a table:
a single word has wiped it clean,
plates and glasses gleam,
and the tablecloth is as broad as a plain.
Thank you, thanks,
for going out and returning,
for rising up
and settling down.
We know, thanks,
that you don’t fill every space-
you’re only a word-
where your little petal
the daggers of pride take cover,
and there’s a penny’s worth of smiles.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Lucy Animus
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Brick Red/Flickr