Gratitude is the act of being thankful for something that we have and showing appreciation for it. This year has been a difficult year for everyone as we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and at times we find ourselves frustrated and upset at our situations. As we start into this holiday season we start thinking of things that we are thankful for which can help uplift us. Having gratitude can help improve our mental health drastically in several different ways. When we show gratitude it can help improve our moods, make us feel more optimistic, improve relationships, and practice physical health.
When we express gratitude on a regular basis we tend to start having more positive thoughts and it improves our outlook on life. Having a positive thought process can help us manage symptoms, such as depression, better. When we start feeling more positive we then start to be more optimistic in everyday activities in life that help us feel better about ourselves. When a person is feeling better about himself or herself, they start to interact with others more, which can help improve relationships that are healthy and strong. In addition, when we start to interact with others and are feeling better about ourselves we will start to take care of ourselves better by improving our physical activity such as eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis.
Sometimes it is hard to start recognizing what we are thankful for and showing that gratitude, so it is important to start to make it a habit. A person can do that by first writing down everything they are thankful for and at the end of each day write down something new that they are thankful for that happened during that day. There are also times during a day when we will feel upset or frustrated, but during those times it is important to stop and think of something that we are thankful for. This will help us reset our thought process and have us thinking more positively. Another way to start a habit is when eating meals with family or loved ones go around the table and name one thing they are thankful for. This will not only help people improve their positive mind set but it will help improve relationships and bonds. One way to show gratitude is by writing a note to someone that you are thankful for and letting him or her know that you are thankful for them.
Showing gratitude can help improve our lives in many different ways and during these trying times it is important to be able to stay positive and help uplift ourselves and others.
David Homer, LCSW