Gratitude is good for you!
Holidays and changing seasons can be difficult times of year for some. There is often pressure around expectations, additional stress and feelings of loss or loneliness. One tool that can help lift your spirit and provide grounding is practicing gratitude.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the quality, feeling or act of being thankful. It is appreciation for the things and people around you. Gratitude is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude can help you refocus your mind on something positive. Practicing gratitude allows you to reflect on what you have, like family and friends. Gratitude is a simple way to improve your satisfaction with life.
Health benefits of gratitude:
According to Psychology Today, there are seven scientifically proven health benefits of gratitude. Your mental, physical and relationship health improves when you practice gratitude.
- Improves psychological health – gratitude reduces toxic emotions like envy, frustration and regret. Gratitude increases happiness and decreases depression.
- Improves physical health – grateful people are more likely to take care of their health through exercise and check-ups.
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
- Helps you sleep better
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases mental strength
- Shows appreciation to for the relationships you have, and grows new relationships.
How can I practice gratitude?
Practicing gratitude can be as easy as taking a moment to reflect on something you are thankful for. You can say it out-loud, or keep it in your mind. Some examples of phrases you can use to lead into your
“I’m grateful for ______”
“I am happy that I have______”
Thanking others is another great way to practice gratitude. By thanking someone, you are showing appreciation which strengthens relationships.
When to practice gratitude:
- A little bit every day
- When you’re feeling low
- To check in with yourself
- To lift your spirits
Taking the time to reflect on something you have and show appreciation for the things and people in your life can make a positive impact. With practicing gratitude, you can start small and build up your habit; there is no wrong way. So, go ahead – try it now! What are you grateful for?
About the author
Written in collaboration with JoEllen Kozlowski, Ph.D., L.P., Psychology Manager.
For more information about the comprehensive mental health services available at Hennepin Healthcare, visit Psychiatry Services on our website.