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How Gratitude Affects Mental Health

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

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Gratitude… it's more than an emotion. It's an outlook, a perspective, a choice perhaps.

Mental health awareness is on the rise, and the art of being grateful is slowly being lost in our society. More than just a feel-good word, practicing gratitude can have a positive effect on both your physical and mental health.

What is gratitude, how does it help, and how can you practice it? Those are all questions we'll cover below, so read on.

What is Gratitude?

Webster defines gratitude as, "the state of being grateful: thankfulness." Because it's a state of being, it can often take a conscious effort to get to that place.

Gratitude could also be defined as a choice. Sometimes we have to choose to see the good in a situation, even if it's hard.

Because mental health is an issue that's being addressed more and more, you might be wondering how being grateful can help.

Benefits of Being Grateful

  • Stronger Relationships: People like to know they're appreciated. Telling someone that you're grateful for them can strengthen the bond you share.

  • Lower Stress Levels: Being grateful helps us to value ourselves, which improves our self-esteem. This can lower feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.

  • Motivates: Motivation often comes from inspiration. Being grateful can help inspire us to grow, which will motivate us to do things we wouldn't normally do.

  • Creates More Positive Environments: Whether you work at your dream job or not, practicing thankfulness can help you see the positives in your workspace.

  • Greater satisfaction: A recent study showed that those who regularly practiced gratitude were more satisfied with their lives.

  • Renews your inner childlike wonder: Being grateful for the simple things, such as a new day, a bird, or the clouds, can take us back to our innocent days and revive childlike awe.

Clearly, there are many good reasons to be grateful. Even if gratitude doesn't come easily to you, there are things you can do to get better at it.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

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  • Keep a gratitude journal: Those that write down their feelings process information better. Writing down things you're grateful for can bring more awareness to other positive things.

  • Write a letter: This could be a letter to yourself or to a loved one. Sharing why you're grateful can strengthen bonds.

  • Play games: Life doesn't always have to be serious. Have fun finding things to be grateful for, even if it's silly.

  • List off before meals: Similar to keeping a journal, making verbal declarations of what you're grateful for can help you see more positive things to include down the road.

  • Be intentional: It takes practice, but make it a priority to find at least one thing you're grateful for every day.

Now that you have a few ideas of how to practice gratitude, you can now make it a part of your life.

Wrap Up

Gratitude is a state of being. It can be the result of a choice we all can make. It helps give you perspective, lower stress levels, and create better work and life environments.

The art of being grateful doesn't come easily to everyone. Perhaps you need to practice finding things to be grateful for. This can come in the form of writing, artwork, listing off things you're thankful for, or creating a game.

Being intentional is what counts. Start the good habit of being grateful today!


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