Practicing gratitude and the effect it has on our mental health
Practicing gratitude can bring immense changes to your overall happiness and health. 2020 has packed a powerful to punch to some of us. As this year comes to a close, take a few minutes and look back to recognize the good that this year has brought. There are some silver linings if we stop and look long enough.
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
In Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection, she quotes “Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments-often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we are so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light”. Ever thought “I’m not going to allow myself to feel this joy because it will end soon” or “If I acknowledge how grateful I am, it is sure to end in disaster”? If we aren’t practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we miss out on the good stuff. And a lot of times, the good stuff is the small stuff.
Here are some other ways to practice gratitude
2. Practice writing in a journal. Write down your positive thoughts to focus your attention on the subject. While you are putting the pen to paper, you have no choice but to think about what you are writing without other distracting, ungrateful thoughts.
You can journal every day after your gratitude practice, or you can come back to the journal on a regular schedule weekly or monthly.
3. Find ways to make yourself happy. Exercising or spending time with loved ones is a way to release endorphins. When these chemicals are released, we are happier. And when we are happier, it is easier to appreciate the small things around us.
Research shows by practicing gratitude our sleep improves, our immune system gets stronger, anxiety and depression decreases and productivity increases! If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and need extra support, please contact us today. We are here to help!