Benefits of Practicing Gratitude – When everything in your life seems to be going wrong and all the news headlines aren’t much better, it can be incredibly challenging to keep a positive outlook on life, making it easy to fall into patterns of negative thinking. And, while habitual negative thoughts are clearly not beneficial, changing your thinking isn’t as easy as “just staying positive.” So, how does one train themselves to think more positively when it seems as though the negative thoughts come unbidden? At Horizon Plymouth, we have found that one of the most effective ways to enhance a positive outlook is by practicing gratitude—something that is not as difficult as it may sound.
Benefits to practicing gratitude
Incorporating the practice of gratitude into your daily routine has been shown by research to leave individuals feeling happier, banishing negative thoughts, and allowing them to have a more positive outlook on life. And, while these benefits might seem too good to be true, they are brought about by factors that have been directly pinpointed by various studies, including:
- Decreasing stress hormones
- Enhancing the quality of relationships
- Better sleep
- Improved focus
- Reduced blood pressure
- And much more
Ways to incorporate gratitude in your life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy negativity of our lives, making the incorporation of a gratitude practice difficult to implement at times. At Horizon Plymouth, we have found that the best way to begin is by setting aside a dedicated time every day—even if it is just a few minutes in the morning when you wake up or in the evening before bed. This becomes a time when you can enjoy some peaceful solitude as you reflect on your day and pick out elements to show intentional gratitude for. Hopefully, as this routine becomes second nature, you will begin to unconsciously notice bright spots throughout your day. Some of the ways that you might incorporate the practice of gratitude into your life include:
- A journal: One of the most common ways is by keeping a journal where you write down a few things each day that you are grateful for. This journal can be kept in one location for you to refer to during a set time or carried on your person for things to be jotted down throughout the day.
- Notes: Writing regular notes to people in your life that you are grateful for can be a good way to spread your gratitude more publicly and impact the individuals around you directly. These notes could be simple slips of paper slipped anonymously into their possessions, or a card mailed to their home.
- Reframe negative events: This can be a difficult way to practice gratitude in the moment but can have incredible mental health effects. This strategy entails reflecting on bad things that happened to you that day and finding one thing you are grateful for to reframe the moment. For example, if you spilled your coffee down yourself before a big meeting, you could be grateful for your job that is close to your home, that you were able to drink most of the coffee before the mishap, or that your boss found it humorous.
At Horizon Plymouth, we often work with individuals who are dealing with decreased mental health from a variety of reasons. Although practicing gratitude can create a more positive outlook on life and leave you looking for the good in situations more often, it is not a cure-all when it comes to resolving trauma or healing from experiences in your life that have negatively impacted you. At Horizon Plymouth, our counsellors often recommend the incorporation of gratitude practices as a helpful supplement to therapy administered by one of our professionals. If you are dealing with struggles that would benefit from the help of a qualified counsellor, contact Horizon Plymouth to schedule your initial consultation today.