Gratitude allows you to recognize the good things that you have in your life. Simply by saying ‘thank you’, you are connecting to the world at large and acknowledging the impact others have on your life.
Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus. It means thankful or pleasing. All the derivatives of the word reference grace or gratefulness, which reinforces the beauty that can result in both giving and receiving. Gratitude should be the natural response to something positive that happens in your life. But what about your mental health?
Should you be grateful for your mental health? Absolutely. Gratitude is powerful. Science has proven that showing gratitude can have an immense impact on your mental outlook, and you should never take your sound mental health for granted.
Evidence of the impact gratitude has on your mental health is astonishing. Studies show that gratitude can increase the positive thoughts of individuals, as well as decrease negative thoughts.
Showing gratitude can reduce frustration, lessen resentment and release you from feelings of entitlement. When you realize that your life is a gift, you become more aware of the things you have to be grateful for on a daily basis. The more you look for opportunities to show thankfulness, the easier it is to recognize the things (and people) you should be grateful for.
What if you aren’t in a good place mentally? Even if you are struggling with mental health difficulties you can begin to practice gratitude.
Create a list of things to be grateful about. Writing things down causes your brain to focus differently. By making a list of things to be grateful for, you are teaching your brain to notice them.
Stop complaining. Take the Complaint Free Challenge and aim for 21 days of no complaining. Instead focus your energy on being thankful for what you have.
Verbalize your gratitude. Tell those around you how grateful you are for their impact in your life. The person holding the door? Say ‘Thank you’. Someone lets you in traffic? Wave and say thank you. Write a note to a coworker who went out of their way to help you finish a project. Put your gratitude in words.
Volunteer. Join a group that is helping the less fortunate. Not only will you be helping those in need, it will give you perspective on the many blessings in your life.
Connect with others. Spend time with loved ones or friends who bring positive feelings in your life. Show your appreciation for their friendship and the impact they’ve had on you.
Living a life filled with gratitude can improve your mental health. Don’t forget to be grateful for the amazing way your brain works, and the beauty you can discover in the world. Even when you go through difficult times, you can still find ways to be grateful and embrace the gift of life you’ve been given.
How can you show gratitude today for the positive mental health you’ve already experienced? Who can you express gratitude to in a meaningful way?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.