Practicing Gratitude, Wednesday 27 November 2019

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and that of course makes us think about gratitude.  Studies show that gratitude is good for us, and not just on national holidays.  A disposition of gratitude on a daily basis makes us healthier people both physically and mentally.

Indeed, recent research suggests that counting our blessings on a regular basis can help decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety over the long term. More research is in the works, but in conjunction with therapy or other medical treatment, it seems that gratitude can have a significant impact.

Generally, gratitude can serve to*:

  1. Improve a person’s ability to cope with stress
  2. Decrease feelings of jealousy, resentment, and regret, specifically when derived from social comparisons
  3. Reduce strictly materially-based pursuits and goals, often associated with negative well being
  4. Enhance a person’s ability to access positive memories
  5. Improve relationships with others and encourage selfless acts of assistance towards fellow human beings.

That may sound wonderful, but outside of Thanksgiving and other clearly-designated times for thanks, it can be hard to be grateful all the time.  If life is hectic and you want to improve your gratitude practice, here are some recommended interventions:

  • Keep a gratitude journal
    • This could be a daily or weekly journal where you write down five to ten things you are grateful for
  • Articulate your gratitude
    • When someone in your life makes you feel especially thankful, don’t be afraid to tell them
  • Consider the way you speak
    • Using language of gratitude in your day to day life makes you think about what you are grateful for more often
  • Consider volunteering
    • Doing things for others can make you even more cognizant of the good things you experience and that others do for you

We also want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to and for you.  We thank each and every one of you for what you do to advance life-saving depression research and awareness.  We would not exist without your remarkable support.

Sources: 

*Cheng, S., Tsui, P. K., & Lam, J. H. M. (2015). Improving mental health in health care practitioners: Randomized controlled trial of a gratitude intervention.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83(1), 177-186. doi:http://dx.doi.org.pitt.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/a0037895

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