The Impact of Gratitude on our Mental Wellbeing
Gratitude is typically defined as a disposition or characteristic that allows an individual to perceive and appreciate the positive and meaningful aspects of life.
Simply put, gratitude is one’s ability to see the goodness in people and situations, to process actions and words from one’s environment positively. And most importantly to live life with admiring, awe-inspired eyes rather than eyes that hover through things in a matter-of-fact way or as a given.
Gratitude extends to the smaller blessings in life that are often overlooked or taken for granted. Even the simplest of moments are not to be overlooked: a brief chat with a friend, a kind gesture from a stranger, a cool breeze on a hot day, or a hug from a dear person. The daily gestures or habits that we tend to take for granted.
Read on to discover simple tips that will help you use gratitude to uplift your mood. Find respite from negativity, foster stronger relationships, and even change the way you view yourself. If used properly or adopted consistently, gratitude can be more beneficial to you than a psychologist or any type of psychotherapy.
Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude
Elevate Your Mindset
When someone feels grateful—which can be described as a positive emotion in itself—research shows they tend to experience more positive feelings overall. Some studies also find that building gratitude practices into psychotherapy sessions can actually help promote a positive cognitive mindset. The focus shifts from negative experiences to more positive ones.
Some research links increased gratitude with higher quality sleep and fewer sleep disturbances. This might be because expressing gratitude right before bed allows you to fall asleep with a more positive outlook and a calmer mind.
Have an optimistic outlook
Practicing gratitude impacts your mental health in a positive, healthy way. Finding reasons to feel optimistic is crucial in a time like the present. It’s difficult to look on the bright side when it feels like parts of the world are so dark. Looking for those bright spots in a time like this can help you feel optimistic in spite of your current circumstances.
People who are focused on gratitude are inspired to give back and support their community in positive ways. This means cultivating gratitude will not only benefit you, it’ll also benefit those around you.
How can you build gratitude into your life?
Start saying grace
Grace is commonly said as a prayer of thanksgiving before a meal. But you don’t need to be religious to say grace. Just take a moment to express your thanks for your food and recognize the blessing of a nourishing meal. This does not have to be lengthy or interfere with your roputine. You can be as discreet as you’d like by closing your eyes and taking a few seconds for yourself to thank the universe for whatever it is you feel grateful for.
Remember Bad moments
You need to remember the hard times that you once experienced to be grateful. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind. This contrast is a fertile ground for gratefulness. I like to practice this specific technique with my clients during Rapid Transformational Therapy sessions (RTT). It’s crucial to instill in them the awareness that they wouldn’t be the special and unique person they are today without having been shaped by the challenges in their lives.
Come to Your Senses
Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction. But also a gift from the Creator!
Share Your Gratitude with Others
Research has found that expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships. So the next time your partner, friend or family member does something you appreciate, be sure to let them know.
Seek advice from an Expert!
Gratitude is a practice that can take time and dedication to build. But once you do, you may feel more joyful, at ease, supported, and satisfied with your life. If you haven’t found these tips helpful, you can contact Dr. Carla Kesrouani and set up a time to talk.