October 26th, 2021
Graciousness. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Gratefulness. Gratitude.
They all come from a space of positivity. Gratitude is a feeling of being thankful and appreciative. However the concept of gratitude goes far beyond just the definition.
Feeling grateful is a conscious choice and requires intention to pay attention to the good things in life. By focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and cultivating an attitude of gratitude, we find deeper meaning and connectedness to those around us essentially enriching our sense of happiness and fostering greater resilience in the face of adversity. The goal is to make gratitude a default feeling. It will reqire reflection and stilllness; something many of us struggle to find in this tech savvy and hustle/grind worldview.
It’s in the science
It’s true. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will require some sacrifice on your part. But the benefits of living life through a lens of thankfulness yields many benefits.
Improved mental health.
As a therapist, I know that changing your thinking to a more positive practice will improve the affects of anxiety and depression. Studies show that gratitude has the power to literally rewire our brains for the better. One study in particular showed that participants who wrote gratitude letters regularly displayed significantly better mental health than those who didn’t.
Improved physical health.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve both sleep and immunity. ASome studies have also linked better cardiovasular health and reduced pain symptoms to gratitude as well.
Stronger social bonds.
Who does not want to be a naturally positive person? I’m not talking about annoyingly positive. But genuinely happy people. Positivty is contagious! People like to be appreciated. Openly expressing gratitude can build connections and improve relationships.
Gratitude has the effect of helping us to reframe and refocus on positive emotions. Anyone who has worked with me in the past know that I have a solution focused approach to therapy. Gratitude guides us to take an optimistic, solution-oriented approach to the challenges that we encounter in life which ultimately builds resilience. Resilience, then, improves our overall quality of life by enabling us to bounce back from the hardships we face.
3 Simple Gratitude Practices
- Take a few mintues each day to write three things that you’re grateful for.
- Consider writing a gratitude letter each week to someone who is in your life or has impacted you in a profound way.
- Start a gratitude journal. On the days when you feel down, reflect on the things that you’ve written in the past. Reflection is an instant mood booster.
- When someone does somethikng nice for you, practice saying, “Thank you” whether it be your barista or package delivery person.
- Normalize telling those around you have much you appreciate them or how much they mean to you.
- Challenge yourself to give three compliments to random people per day. Making others feel good will in turn make you feel good too.
- Look for things to appreciate daily.
- Surround yourself with grateful people.
- Be present. Choose to be optimistic and positive in the moment.
GraySpace Counseling Group, located in Mauldin, SC services the state of South Carolina with therapeutic solutions to include individual, group, family, and couples counseling. All services are available virtually.