In today’s culture, anxiety is at all all-time high, and anxious thoughts often include what we should be doing, what we wish was better, or how we are not measuring up to our own expectations. These anxious thoughts can be consuming, causing a negative effect on our overall mood, energy level, and relationships. If instead we shift our mindset to focusing on what we are grateful for, it can have a multitude of positive effects.
According to the Harvard Health Journal, gratitude allows us to “feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Additionally, studies show that employing gratitude actually improves prosocial behavior, reduces aggression, and improves empathy. With all these great benefits, who wouldn’t want to try being more grateful?! Here are some tips on how to employ gratitude:
Create a gratitude journal. End each day by writing 3 things you are grateful for. Doing this before bed quiets the mind and enhances sleep, thus improving overall well-being (according to a study in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being).
Write a “Thank You” note to yourself. This focuses on actions to be proud of instead of regrets. Paying attention to your good deeds improves self-esteem and your overall self-view.
Fill up a gratitude jar. Decorate a jar with various items, ribbon, stickers or paint. Each day, write on a small sheet of paper something you are grateful for. Watch the jar fill up over time.
Look for times to say “Thank you” to others. Paying special attention to what others do for you increases relationships. Your reaction to them may even improve their view of you and encourage them to want to spend more time with you.
Meditate on the words “Thank you.” Spend five minutes being quiet and trying to only focus on the words “Thank you.” Doing so will quiet your mind, bring a sense of calm, and allow you to explore what you are actually thankful for.
The idea of gratitude and being grateful are key principals in Positive Psychology. To learn more about Positive Psychology and how we at Art It Out incorporate it into therapy, give us a call: 770-726-9589. For more on gratitude, read Laura Le's post here.