Practicing gratitude has incredible effects, from improving our mental health to boosting our relationships with others.
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack.
Harvard Health – November 2011 – Updated 2019
The Thanksgiving holiday began, as the name implies, when the colonists gave thanks for their survival and for a good harvest. So perhaps November is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind. Especially with the exhausting and trying year we have had.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
In her book, The How of Happiness, happiness researcher and psychologist, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, states, “Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present oriented.”
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.
Write a thank-you note-it will impact you and the other person positively
Thank someone mentally-the other person won’t know but you will be grateful for them.
Keep a gratitude journal-my niece does this with her children and clients. It instills thankfulness
Count your blessings-when we see what we have what we don’t have becomes less important..
Pray-prayer balances our world and fills us with gratitude and hope.
Meditate-positive meditation clears our head and makes us more positive.