Gratitude: The All-Natural Mood-Booster!
Sometimes in life things get busy, challenging or a perhaps little repetitive and we forget to be grateful for the little things in our daily routine, but it can be so very beneficial to practice gratitude. From small actions and reflections each day, you may find little by little you can improve your overall mental health and well-being.
Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness, recognition and appreciation. It brings awareness to the positive things in your life, and if you demonstrate your gratefulness to others it will communicate respect and acknowledgement of their hard work or support. Some benefits of actively and regularly practicing gratitude include:
• Dwelling on the positives – Often we can find ourselves focusing on the negatives so much that we can’t even see all the positives that have come from the day. Don’t ignore the difficult moments, but try to give them less power over your thoughts by highlighting blessings, achievements and the supportive people around you.
• Coping with tough times – Gratitude can be a tool for coping during a hard time or a crisis, though it must be said that this method of coping does not deny the difficulties you have faced, but attempts to re-frame the circumstances.
• Relationships and bonds – Acknowledging people’s accomplishments and hard work can lead to closer bonds and new opportunities with friends, family, co-workers and when meeting new people. Just by saying “Thank you for being here with me” you can show a loved one your appreciation and gratitude.
• Improvements to physical and mental health – Research shows practicing gratitude frequently has benefits to sleep quality, reduces negative feelings such as regret, frustration and aggression, and even can enhance empathy.
If you want to start having more grateful moments in your days, try these methods a few times a week :
• Track your progress – keep a gratitude-tracker, such as a journal, a picture diary, a gratitude app or even organise with a friend or partner to talk about your daily or weekly moments of gratefulness.
• Commit to random acts of thankfulness – think about a few ways to express your gratitude to the people in your life. Showing appreciation to others will express that you are aware of the work they have done, and will help you to remember to spend time appreciating yourself too.
• Put some time aside – take 15 or so minutes some time through the day, ideally in the evening before sleeping while things are still fresh in your mind, to write down what you are grateful for in that or previous days. Think about the people you interacted with, the environment around you, even the food you ate; anything that made you feel thankful.
The process may take a little time, but you will begin to see benefits as you start to become more and more grateful for the world around you. We all have the capacity to practice thankfulness and gratitude, and if we focus less on our mistakes and expectations and more on our blessings, successes and current assets, we can gain a more positive outlook that improves mood, life satisfaction and relationships to the people around you.