Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude has been shown to significantly impact well-being and mental health. 

A friend recently recommended that I write about gratitude and it took me by surprise that I hadn't even considered this yet. Gratitude is such a well-researched topic and is endorsed by mental health professionals around the world. It's no surprise then, that when I was in high school, wellness practitioners came in and did a seminar with most of the year levels which ended with a 21-day gratitude journal. 

As teenagers, this seemed a bit wishy-washy and not everyone was keen to get involved. However, I loved it. I have always loved to write and a journal was just another chance to do that. Plus, this time, something good was going to come of it. I am thankful (pardon the pun) that I was introduced to this concept at such an early age and have come to appreciate its power the more time goes on. Turns out it's backed by significant data and research too. 

Gratitude has consistently been shown to be associated with greater happiness, including more positive emotions, improved health and being able to deal with adversity (Harvard Health Publishing, 2021). Okay, so what's the catch? Well, gratitude is a subjective matter and how you practice it is entirely up to the individual. Some studies have also shown minimal effect or that gratitude is influenced by factors such as emotional maturity. However, regularly practising gratitude has certainly indicated lasting benefits for individuals in most cases. 

So, here are some ideas on how to incorporate gratitude into your everyday life: 

1. Journalling: surprise surprise! There are heaps of already existing journals out there dedicated to gratitude journaling. Alternatively, some creators have made journalling prompts in the area to get you started. 

2. Rephrasing in everyday life: Late to meet a friend? Say thanks for waiting, instead of apologising. 

3. Be grateful at work: whether you are a part of a team, a manager or employee say thanks to the people you work with!

4. Noticing: this is a technique often associated with Acceptance and Committment Therapy. Naming and noticing is often used in the context of managing difficult thoughts and emotions but I think it's a great way to practice gratitude too. Take note of the small things that you are thankful for throughout the day!

I hope this helps and I'm looking forward to leading a more grateful life. 

Tagged in What messes with your head, gratitude, mental health, mental wellbeing