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Gratitude, better Mental health

Gratitude, better Mental health
October 1, 2020

Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude in a multitude of ways have increased mental health over those who didn’t. Those who practice gratitude are also more open and happier with their lives and decisions.

 

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is when one expresses appreciation for the things in one’s current life and the things you have. An example of this is being grateful for having a place to live, the people in your life, and the world around you. This means if you wake up in the morning and see the sunrise and are grateful for the warmth and light it brings to you and the world around you. Another example is appreciating your loved ones and the little things they do for you.

 

How does gratitude affect your perception of the world around you?

Well you can start to remove the feeling of lack from your life, like instead of being sad that you don’t have the biggest house on your block, you are grateful to have a place to call home. Also being grateful for your time with your significant other/ family that you get to have instead of putting unrealistic expectations on the experiences you have with them. Instead of being concerned about everything you don’t have you are grateful for the things and connections you currently have. The world becomes more of a present experience instead of thinking about what happened in the past or the what ifs of the future. 

 

How does gratitude affect your mental health?

Gratitude can change your thinking from a place of lack to a place of abundance, this affects the view of the world to that of hopelessness and pessimism to that of hopefulness and optimism. When these ways of thinking shift it can cause rates of depression and anxiety to decrease. Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. They had 411 participants in this study about writing about things they are grateful for and the results are after 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

 

How do you practice gratitude?

You can practice gratitude by writing down what you’re grateful for in a journal daily. Remind yourself every day  about the things that you do have in your life. You can write a list of all of the things you are grateful for as well. You can also spend time thinking about the positive in your life instead of all the things you don’t have or didn’t have. The most important part of this is really feeling it when you are writing, thinking, or talking about the things in your life that you are grateful for.

 

When and how does one apply these techniques to your daily life?

These techniques are able to be applied at any time in your day. This all depends when you want to do it, you can do it once a day or 10 times a day, these exercises shouldn’t take longer than 5 mins to complete. The hardest part is just incorporating it into your daily routine. A good example of this is you can get a journal or a notebook and you can write 5 things that you are grateful for when you wake up. It starts you off on the right foot and can change the whole mood of your day.

 

Sources

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude

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