“Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #44 ~ October 27, 2022


All the opportunities to be thankful!

That may seem odd to be thankful for being thankful, but that is where this journey has brought me to becoming Happy Brain Life Coach!!!

Gratitude is powerful. It has lots of amazing positive benefits when it is applied. I should know, gratitude changed me! 

Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful”, is regarded as a feeling of appreciation by a recipient of another’s kindness, gifts, help, favors, or another form of generosity to the giver of such gifts.

Some psychologists categorize three types of gratitude: gratitude as a characteristic (one’s overall tendency to have a grateful personality), an attitude (daily changes in overall gratitude), and an emotion (a more temporary feeling of gratitude that one may feel after receiving a gift or a favor is done for them).

The opposite of gratitude can have just as powerful consequences. Repeated complaining results in cortisol (primary stress hormone) being released at higher levels.  Frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes people more susceptible and at risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

Research from Stanford University has found that complaining reduces the size of our hippocampus, which, is responsible for memory and problem-solving. The study found that engaging in complaining or simply hearing someone complain for more than 30 minutes could physically damage our brains.

“Complaining is like secondhand smoke for those who are exposed to someone’s complaining!”

-Don Ridenour, LMHC 

If you’ve been inhaling their second-hand negativity, let me ask you, would you stay around a smoker and inhale that secondhand smoke knowing the damage it does to you? Your self-care and health are so important. Feeding your brain with gratitude and detoxing your brain from toxic, negative, complaining thoughts can make a world of difference in your life. 

If you’re looking for happiness, GRATITUDE is your shortcut to experiencing lasting happiness! 

Gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine. Dopamine is our brain’s pleasure chemical. The more we think positive, grateful thoughts, the healthier and happier we feel.

Finding the positive in a situation or having gratitude can help adjust how we feel. Research has found that cortisol levels (primary stress hormone) lower by an astounding 23% in those that find gratitude and happiness in their daily lives. 

Our brains can not focus on both positive and negative thoughts at the same time. When we practice gratitude, we turn off the negative loops that ADHD brains have built up so strongly over the years and turn on positive, dopamine-fueled processes instead.

Knowing the power of gratitude, I have made it a habit to find things I’m thankful for throughout the day. At times, I would write them in my journal as that has reinforced my thankful attitude. Challenging myself to find new things each day to be thankful for, is another good way to keep things new and exciting. 

If you are struggling to come up with something to be grateful for or ways to make it a habit, here are some ideas to help get you going. 

  1. Have a notebook just for your thankful thoughts.  
  2. Write one thing in the morning and one thing in the evening that you are thankful for. 
  3. Write a thankful thought on a post-it note. Put it somewhere you can see it through the day. Put it in your car to keep that thankful thought in your mind while driving. 
  4. Send a text or email to someone that you want to thank just because they are in your life. 
  5. Send a handwritten note to someone you want to thank for their kindness in your life. 
  6. Call someone to tell them thanks even if it’s from years ago. It doesn’t have to be recent to thank someone for something they said or did years ago. 
  7. Finding something in nature to be thankful for. We have an endless supply of gratitude in nature just waiting for us to acknowledge it.
  8. Did you sleep last night, in a bed with a pillow and blankets in a dwelling with a roof and out of the elements? 
  9. Did you eat today? Did you have coffee, tea, or clean water to drink?
  10. Do you have clothes to wear and shoes with no holes? Do you have a jacket to wear if you go outdoors? 

You may be thinking to yourself that I’ve lost my noggin with these last few questions. It’s those basic things that when we can be thankful for it gets the brain moving in the right direction. Try to live without those basic needs and you’ll realize how precious they are. 

Before COVID hit, I remember sharing with someone that I was thankful for toilet paper. And I asked this person, are you thankful for toilet paper? After they realized I had not lost my mind, I shared with them that The Lord was teaching me about being thankful for everything, which includes toilet paper. You’ll be thankful for it too when you try to imagine life without it. Try living without toilet paper and well see how many people start being grateful for even toilet paper. 

There is so much to be thankful for and I would love to hear about your creative ways to be thankful. 

What HAPPY BRAIN is currently THANKFUL FOR…is YOU and that you took the time to read this Noggin’ 🧠 Nugget! 

Gratitude is contagious, I hope you spread some today!!!

For more information on this subject and/or if you would like to work with a Life Coach to work through some struggles or have someone beside you as you navigate this life, contact Karen at https://happybrainlifecoach.com/

Thank you for reading “Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #44 ~ October 27, 2022


  1. GREAT BLOGG, your gift of writing is a blessing. Grateful for you. Love your format, actually laying out ideas. so great to have someone explain our brains with examples. Love it Karen keep up the good fight.

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