How Gratitude Can Change Your Life with Dr. Doni (Episode 187)

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How Gratitude Can Change Your Life with Dr. Doni (Episode 187)

Gratitude helps to stimulate dopamine levels, increases serotonin, and boosts oxytocin.
Gratitude is one of the tools we can use to help us recover from the effects of stress. There is science behind it: Gratitude helps to stimulate dopamine levels, increases serotonin, and boosts oxytocin. and the best thing about it is that gratitude is accessible, free, and available anytime.

In this episode, I discuss the profound healing power of gratitude while providing practical, evidence-based guidance on how you can cultivate it daily, even in the these modern stressful times. I am a burnout expert and I can guide you to recover from stress while in that mix of stress, and that’s one of the key differences about what I teach and what I help my patients to do when I help them to recover from whatever health issue they’re experiencing.

Understanding Stress and Its Impact on Health

The various sources of stress we’re exposed to—emotional, physical toxins as stresses, infections and injuries—cause the symptoms and health issues we experience. So the best way to reverse those health issues is to reverse the impact of stress.

To do that, we first need to understand how stress is affecting you uniquely. For this, we need to first fond out your stress type. 

I developed a quiz called the Stress Type Quiz. It helps you discover your stress type. By knowing your stress type, we can understand how stress is impacting your cortisol and adrenaline levels, which are the stress hormones made by the adrenal glands.


Dr. Doni Stress Quiz

Understanding how stress has disrupted your cortisol and adrenaline, we have one key piece of the puzzle of solving the impact of stress on your system and how we can then optimize cortisol and adrenaline to get you recovered from stress even if you are still of course—most all of us are still in the midst of stress day in and day out because we’re humans, and humans are exposed to stress constantly.

Stress is inevitable, but recovering from it is possible. It’s not about avoiding all the stress; it’s about helping us to recover from stress. But we have to individualize your approach to recovery from stress based on exactly how stress has caused imbalances in your body, mind, nervous system and so on. Understanding each person’s unique stress response is key.

Stress causes imbalances in our cortisol levels. And when you have imbalanced cortisol, that’s what ends up causing the health issues, and we know that when people have optimal cortisol levels they live longer because they have less health issues. So we all should be aiming for optimal cortisol levels.

The Healing Power of Gratitude

Where does gratitude come into play with this? The way I think about gratitude is it’s one of the tools we can use to help us recover from stress and actually one of the cool things about gratitude is that it works for all the stress types. Gratitude is really a healing medicine. It literally is a medicine that you can access within yourself without having to swallow a pill, without having to pay for anything. You can access it at any moment in time 24 hours a day and anywhere you’re located. Gratitude is accessible, free, and available anytime.

There are so many studies showing over and over again that it can help us not just mentally and emotionally, and I’m gonna be talking about that in detail. It can help us on a physical level. Amazingly, there’s quite a lot of research on it.

Gratitude helps in both emotional and physical ways. The research supporting gratitude is substantial.

The Science Behind Gratitude

Gratitude helps to stimulate dopamine levels, which gives us the ability to think and make decisions and enjoy. It’s also connected with reward and pleasure so we want to have adequate dopamine. Dopamine is key for brain power, reward, pleasure and enjoyment.

  • Gratitude also increases serotonin, one of our calming neurotransmitters.
  • It increases oxytocin, which is what we usually think of as a bonding hormone or the love hormone.
  • I think about oxytocin as one of our anti-stress hormones.

So gratitude boosts our bonding hormone oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone, as well as serotonin. So how wonderful that we can with practicing gratitude boost our anti-stress hormone oxytocin as well as endorphins in general, which are also anti-stress, anti-pain messengers in our bodies. This can be so simple and yet effective.

Gratitude stimulates helpful anti-stress and anti-pain messengers in the body. It’s simple yet powerful. You set aside your perfectionism and you get in touch with your intuition—what just comes to you when you think of what do you feel grateful for—because you wanted to be simple, quick and easy, whatever comes to your mind first. What do I feel gratitude for in this moment?

When practicing gratitude, set aside perfectionism. Get in touch with intuition and keep it simple—whatever comes to mind first.

Literally writing it down can actually help, so you can think it, you can have a thought about gratitude, and that’s powerful. But then when you write it down it even gets more power toward the effectiveness of gratitude.

Writing down gratitude is also very powerful, even more than just thinking grateful thoughts.

Expressing gratitude and finding more ways to do that and allowing it…I think sometimes we we just weren’t taught this, so we end up not knowing how to do it right. We don’t really know how to express gratitude well and so it takes practice. We just have to learn how to feel it.

We may not have been taught how to express gratitude growing up. It takes practice to learn how to feel and express it.

Practicing Gratitude

I’m hoping that helps you get a sense of what gratitude can feel like and look like and to see how it can be expressed: to say “thank you, you mean a lot to me and you’ve made a big difference in my life.” And I’m so grateful for the people who have been able to be there to support me in my process.

Gratitude can be expressed by saying “thank you” and appreciating people who have made a difference.

Here are some additional tips for practicing gratitude:

  • Write in a gratitude journal.
  • Send thank you notes, texts, or emails.
  • Verbally express gratitude to people in your life.
  • Try a gratitude meditation.
  • Consider psychedelic plant medicines which can induce profound gratitude.
  • Microdosing psychedelics may also help with gratitude.

I have traveled in different areas of the world to experience different psychedelic plant medicines for—because I’m constantly loving to travel and research other cultures and types of medicine—and in the use of psychedelic medicine such as ayahuasca and psilocybin, one of the main benefits I have experienced is an immense sense of gratitude. 

Psychedelic medicines work on our nervous system also as anti-stress medicines to help us reset the stress response and recover from stress and trauma, and one of the ways they do that is by increasing our sense of gratitude.

There have been times when I’ve been in a psychedelic retreat or ceremony and had experiences of being filled with a sense of gratitude—literally tears pouring out of my eyes feeling like my heart is so open and warm—and literally feeling more gratitude for the people in my life and the patients I’ve been able to help and the patients that have taught me so much about all of this. I wouldn’t have all of this knowledge or experience without the people who’ve come and trusted me to help them with their health.

If you’re ever interested in or called to using psychedelic medicines even in microdoses, I encourage you to check out prior episodes and blog articles about that here, and I’m happy to connect with someone to help you get more information. 

I have immense gratitude for those I’ve been able to help and who have helped me gain this knowledge. And I feel such a huge amount of gratitude for all of you who are listening in, who are joining me here, who are reading my book and practicing these things I’m teaching and benefiting from it—because that’s what I love to do. 

I love to be able to provide this information so people can benefit, and when people do get to benefit from it I feel a huge amount of gratitude for that connection that we have. I also feel deep gratitude for my readers, listeners and patients who allow me to help them. It’s meaningful to make a difference through sharing this helpful information.

I’m here to express that gratitude so that we can all really learn what that’s like: to intentionally choose gratitude and benefit from it. So thank you again so much for joining me here at How Humans Heal. If you have not already, I would love for you to subscribe and join my newsletter list so that you hear when the next episode comes out.

I will be here as your stress and burnout recovery expert to help you every step of the way to understand stress—how it impacts us and how you can take steps to recover from stress—and in doing so reverse so many other possible health issues that you might be dealing with.

I intentionally express gratitude and invite you to join me on this journey of learning, healing and empowerment. Please subscribe if you’d like to receive more episodes and information to recover from stress, which can reverse many health conditions.

Taking Positive Action

If you want to learn more about how stress and trauma affect us, and how to heal using Dr. Doni’s Stress Recovery Protocol® which involves optimizing cortisol and adrenaline levels using nutrients, herbs and C.A.R.E.™, her proprietary program to support clean eating, adequate sleep, stress recovery and exercise, you can read all about it in her book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

We also invite you to join Dr. Doni’s New Stress Mastery C.A.R.E. Program. This 4-week virtual experience provides personalized solutions to help you recover from burnout and rejuvenate your mind and body based on your Stress Type®. We start by having you take our proprietary quiz to uncover your unique stress profile. Are you a Stress Magnet? Sluggish and Stressed? Night Owl? Or another one of the 5 types?

This 4-week program helps you recover from burnout and rejuvenates your mind and body. It starts with a quiz so that the program is personalized based on your Stress Type®.

Your Stress Type tells us how your body and mind have been impacted by stress. Think of it as your version of “stress mode” or burnout. It’s important to know your Stress Type because the way to successfully recover from burnout needs to be customized based on your Stress Type.

Even your SelfC.A.R.E. needs to be fine-tuned based on your Stress Type in order get you all the way to Stress Mastery!  

In just 4 weeks, you’ll optimize cortisol and adrenaline levels, reduce symptoms by 50% or more, regain mental clarity and productivity, improve sleep quality and heart rate variability and establish healthy lifelong habits.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with Dr. Doni one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment here.

We’re here to help you!

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Disclaimer: This specific article and all other Content, Products, and Services of this Website are NOT intended as, and must not be understood or construed as, medical care or advice, naturopathic medical care or advice, the practice of medicine, or the practice of counseling care, nor can it be understood or construed as providing any form of medical diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.

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Master Your Stress, Reset Your Health by Dr. Doni Wilson



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