Giving Thanks May Make Your Brain More Altruistic

Over three weeks, one group journaled about the things they were grateful for, while the other group journaled about other (non-gratitude-specific) happenings in their lives. The people in the gratitude-journaling contingent reported experiencing more thankfulness. What’s more, the reward regions of their brain started responding more to charitable giving than to gaining money for themselves. As Christina Karns writes: “Practicing gratitude shifted the value of giving in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. It changed the exchange rate in the brain. Giving to charity became more valuable than receiving money yourself. After the brain calculates the exchange rate, you get paid in the neural currency of reward, the delivery of neurotransmitters that signal pleasure and goal attainment.”

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