Using the Mind:

Gratitude, The Science

“Gratitude is not just a social construct, it’s a real neurobiological phenomenon that is powerful for bringing a deepened sense of well being, connectedness and enhancing our relationship to self, others and all things.” – Dr. Andrew Huberman

From a neuroscience perspective, gratitude is a positive emotion that offers biological benefits, with tremendous positive effects on mental and physical health.  Studies have demonstrated a definitive connection between practicing gratitude and good health, where neural circuit mechanisms reduce fear, increase motivation and lower inflammatory chemicals that contribute to chronic pain. The practice of gratitude releases stress, improves the quality of sleep, and builds emotional awareness.



A very insightful and informative source of information regarding the science of gratitude can be found on Dr. Andrew Huberman’s blog:

The Science of Gratitude

Whatever medical condition a person faces, using the mind is the fundamental basis for managing that condition.  Learning to use one’s mind to affect change and improve one’s condition, reduce suffering, pain and conflict, can be the most important step towards health and recovery. To this goal, a very simple tool to facilitate positive change is the practice of gratitude. What this means is simply to spend just a few minutes a day exercising the emotion of gratitude. But what exactly is gratitude?


Gratitude can be described as an appreciation associated with noticing and acknowledging a benefit that has been received, whether from another person or deity, and feeling thankful for their efforts, sacrifices, or actions.


Gratitude has two faces:

  1. Expressive: Feeling grateful to someone or some deity for a gift, an action or a circumstance that is perceived to have personal value;
  2. Receptive: Perceiving the gratitude another has for something you did, again in the performance of an act or a gift to that person.
Of these two faces of gratitude, the second is the more powerful of the two. Furthermore, it is important to provide a narrative to the perception of gratitude such as a story or context to the action leading to gratefulness. It is not enough to simply piece together a list of people to thank in one’s mind in a moment of gratitude. By providing a contextual narrative, the experience of gratitude ties into various centers in the brain including those that govern memory, emotion and reward.
The practice of gratitude leads to elevations of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is intimately tied into the reward centers of the brain and feelings of well being. Deficiency of dopamine leads to a perceived lack of fulfillment and vulnerability to addiction.
Serotonin, the other neurotransmitter associated with reward, is important in maintaining positive mood states and inadequate levels of serotonin are associated with depression and poor sleep quality.
Boosting levels of these neurotransmitters is believed to be the foundation of the neurophysiologic benefits achieved by the practice of gratitude. Studies indicate that these benefits can be obtained with as little as a few minutes per day practicing gratitude.




  1. The Science of Gratitude & How to Build a Gratitude Practice



  1. Neuroplasticity
  2. Raising Pain Tolerance Using Guided Imagery
  3. Exploring neural mechanisms of the health benefits of gratitude in women – A randomized controlled trial – 2021
  4. The Science of Gratitude – 2018
  5. Neural correlates of gratitude – 2015
  6. Science of Positive Thinking & Controlling The Mind – Andrew Huberman


Emphasis on Education


Accurate Clinic promotes patient education as the foundation of it’s medical care. In Dr. Ehlenberger’s integrative approach to patient care, including conventional and complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments, he may encourage or provide advice about the use of supplements. However, the specifics of choice of supplement, dosing and duration of treatment should be individualized through discussion with Dr. Ehlenberger. The following information and reference articles are presented to provide the reader with some of the latest research to facilitate evidence-based, informed decisions regarding the use of conventional as well as CAM treatments.


For medical-legal reasons, access to these links is limited to patients enrolled in an Accurate Clinic medical program.


Should you wish more information regarding any of the subjects listed – or not listed –  here, please contact Dr. Ehlenberger. He has literally thousands of published articles to share on hundreds of topics associated with pain management, weight loss, nutrition, addiction recovery and emergency medicine. It would take years for you to read them, as it did him.


For more information, please contact Accurate Clinic.



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