The Coolest Thing about Gratitude.

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human heart

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.

Researchers have reported that hearts between lovers sync even when the lovers aren’t touching or conversing. The same goes for heart frequencies of unborn babies and their mothers.

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,
that melts
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.
Or maybe
a tapestry
to far distant peoples.
fan out
into the wilds,
and in the jungle
of strangers,
rings out
while the hustling train
changes countries,
sweeping away borders,
then spasibo
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,
silverware tinkles,
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.



The Things a Human Body can Do.

“You have the wrong body for Ballet.”

How to Become a Gratitude Junkie.


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Author: Lucy Animus

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Brick Red/Flickr

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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Lucy Animus

Lucy Animus is a curious girl from the Midwest who grew up skipping rocks on the Mississippi and pancaking pennies on the railroad tracks. She’s just trying to figure this being human/human being shit out. Writing and yoga help. Answers may also be found whilst snuggling fur friends. But always, it’s that soft shaky voice of love that really spills the beans on being. To connect with Lucy, check out her site.

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anonymous Dec 30, 2015 2:54am

Thank you for this lightning info about our own hearts. I love it. Gratitude to you!

anonymous Dec 29, 2015 5:54am

Loved the article; loved the poem. I’ve never read Nedruda before but had heard of him. Of to the library to read more of his poetry. Namaste.

anonymous Nov 25, 2015 6:13pm

I think I teared up a little while reading this. I've been feeling incredibly grateful for the people in my life lately, and I often worry that I don't convey it enough. But with this, I now know that my feelings have reached them and touched them somehow. 🙂

anonymous Jan 24, 2015 11:22am

Fascinating read. I'd love to know your sources so I can learn more (even if it's just one source!). Thanks for brightening up the day!

anonymous Jan 2, 2015 3:27pm

Having a heart that desires healing gives gratitude a place to express itself. Thanks for the encouragement to look around.

anonymous Jan 1, 2015 8:34am

Wonderful synopsis of and introduction to the ideas of the HeartMath folks (their 1st book published circa 1999). I glommed on to them from writings of Joseph Chilton Pearce who is big on the heart and its electrical field, the 'aura', as a sixth (or actually first) sense.

The HeartMath approach includes care, appreciation, non-judgment, and forgiveness along with gratitude as the power tools of the heart, that when used properly can help us heal ourselves and the world; and it includes so much more. I get the same sense of direction from the works of Pearce.

Your article is a cornucopia of connections to the newest ideas being explored by HeartMath folks and others. Thank you for kicking my mental butt into this new century of possibilities surrounding the heart.

anonymous Nov 30, 2014 6:52am

“‘Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” — Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887). Gratefulness is correlated with life satisfaction and happiness.

anonymous Nov 29, 2014 11:44am

Gratitude is always satisfying

anonymous Nov 28, 2014 7:00pm

Brilliant and very true. Love this article! Thank you!

    anonymous Nov 29, 2014 1:32pm

    Tara, thanks so much for letting me know that you appreciated it. If feels pretty cool to hear that people are ultimately grateful for…gratitude. It's a big deal! Thanks, thanks, thanks, Lucy

anonymous Nov 28, 2014 12:22pm

I love this article and agree totally on how stress affects the heart. Thank you!!

    anonymous Nov 29, 2014 1:30pm

    Hi Debbie! Thanks for the kind words (gratitude rocks!). I loved reading yours as well. Beautiful story! Hugs, Lucy

anonymous Nov 27, 2014 10:20pm

Thank you for this. Neruda is awesome, and so are you for sharing his words among your own!! Deep gratitude.

    anonymous Nov 28, 2014 9:28am

    Hey Jennifer, thanks for the thanks, and for spreading the thank(full!)ness! I really appreciate the warm words, Lucy