Rewire Your Brain

Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin–just like the prescription drugs Wellbutrin and Prozac. It’s wild, but being grateful literally changes the chemicals in your mind.

Are thoughts drugs?


Well, they work just like them. When these chemicals are released into your mind, you begin to create synaptic connections that form a positive “web of thoughts” in the front of your brain. This positive feedback loop causes you to feel a sense of happiness and fulfillment.

The best part about this “natural antidepressant” is it’s FREE!

Daily Dose of the Natural Anti-Depressant

As soon as I read this article, I immediately began searching for ways in which I might be grateful every single day.

Since I dread checking email each morning, I decided to make my first email every day a “Thank You” email or as I like to call it “Gratitude First.”

I send them to various people and tell them how much I appreciate them and the work they do for kids. I send them to colleagues, custodians, bus drivers, PLN peeps, friends, and family. No one is exempt. It has changed my approach to diving into my email. It has also warmed my heart to get a reply or a hug with tears in their eyes saying how much that little tiny appreciation message meant to them. I mean who wouldn’t want to receive a little love in the sea of inbox-chaos?

It Gets Better

As I was researching the chemical reaction in the brain regarding gratitude, I learned that simply remembering to look for appreciation increases the chemicals dopamine and serotonin in the mind.

Only searching for it?


Blew my mind! You don’t even have to find something for which to be thankful; just searching for it stimulates your natural anti-depressant drugs.

I’ve found this to be true as I’m deciding who to send my next day’s “Gratitude First” email. I want my thoughts to be authentic, so I’m constantly on the lookout for things for which to be thankful. As I see them or think of them, I make a note on my phone, type a text to myself, or record a voice memo. In fact, my list is so long that on most days, I now send two Gratitude First Emails.

Train Your Brain

If our thoughts control our brain and our brain controls every organ in our body, it would be wise for us to choose thoughts that positively affect our entire system–not just the human body, but the culture of our school system. Gratitude First is an easy, applicable task with far-reaching outcomes.

Isn’t it often the little things in life that make a big difference?

What little “Gratitude First” everyday habit do you have in place?

How might this little habit affect the educational system?

Tara M. Martin - Educator for the Lawrence Public School District USD 497
Twitter: @TaraMartinEDU, Blog: