When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

I suffered from depression for seven years. During that time, I hated the subject of gratitude. When people learned I was depressed, they would advise me (with the best of intentions, no doubt) to make a gratitude list.

“Grateful people are happy people,” is the refrain I’d hear over and over again.

Eventually, I began to believe that such clichés were reserved for privileged people. I say privileged people, because in my mind, it was easy for them to be happy. All they had to do was make said gratitude list, and presto! Happiness.

Well… that didn’t work for me. I would make a gratitude list, and layer a forced cheeriness upon my misery. The root of the issue was actually that I had a hard time being happy, physically or emotionally. Therefore, even when I was talking, seeing, or otherwise being a part of a positive experience, I was unable to feel any happiness.

Then I discovered neuroscience.

Through the analysis of my neuronal activity, I found that I lacked a healthy level of neural pathways to create “happy” energy. This discovery then led me to explore the science of neuroplasticity.

As I studied this field, I learned that it is actually possible for me to change the unfortunate state of my neuronal activity when it came to creating “happy” energy. I was not “doomed” with a predetermined ability (or lack thereof) to be happy, I just needed to “train” my nervous system to experience the positive vibration.

Neuroplasticity is the science of how we make neuronal change, which leads to physical, mental and emotional change inside of our brains and bodies. This science provides the path to make change in how we think, feel, and function.

Once I came to understand this, I committed to changing the fact that I wasn’t able to create enough “happy” energy for myself.

To introduce how this works, consider the Tale of the Two Wolves:

A Ritual For Being Happier

Neuroplasticity proves that the tale of the two wolves is biologically true. In order for us to physically entrain the autonomic nervous system to create more “happy” energy, we need to “feed” the Happy (Good) Wolf inside of us.

By default, many of us are spending the majority of our energy feeding the Negative (Evil) Wolf, which leads us to create a disproportionate amount of negative energy. Fortunately, by using the principles of neuroplasticity we can consciously decide that we want to think more positive thoughts, and therefore create more positive energy.

Every significant thought and event in your life creates new neural pathways to record the event within your body. The following ritual will help you “pad” the positive neural pathways (feed the Happy Wolf), just as it helped me:

First, commit to beginning and ending each day with intentional self-directed thinking. Practice a form of prayer and/or meditation intended to create happy thoughts and energy.

In order to maximize the effect of your rituals, you want to create as many neural pathways as possible, as fast and often as possible. And the more motor skills used in coordination with your thoughts, the more “happy” neural pathways you’ll create.

As a part of this ritual, try throwing your arms up in the air and shouting “Yes!” Then, as you bring your arms down, say, “I am blessed.” Do this arm raising ritual three times as a part of your morning ritual, and even periodically during the day. This adds more neural “reps” to training the happy energy side of the daily equation!

This practice can also be used to increase gratitude. At Pathwaves, we call it celebrating. We encourage our clients to make a gratitude list, and then celebrate each entry with the “Yes – I Am Blessed” ritual.

This ritual will help you generate more “happy” neurons – which increase exponentially with practice – and power them up at will throughout the day.


G. Cole, Founder of Pathwaves

NeuroEmpowerment™ and Increasing Happiness

The science of neuroplasticity proves that this formula cannot fail. If you are finding that gratitude alone is not helping to increase your happiness, Pathwaves can help.

NeuroEmpowerment™ is a treatment which corrects mental, emotional, and spiritual issues at the same time it corrects physical issues directly associated with psychological function, thus alleviating the root of the problem, rather than treating the symptoms. This is the key for long-term optimal living and quality of life.


If you’d like to learn how you can support your personal growth through our methodology, we are here to help. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today.

To help those who cannot afford the services of Pathwaves, consider donating to the Pathwaves Foundation. Please call (305) 858-6616 for more information.

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