Showing Gratitude is something that is often overlooked these days. Find out how being grateful can help with depression, anxiety and positive mental health
Growing up we are always told to be grateful. But many of us take it for granted. What does it truly mean to be grateful, and how is this going to help with my health and wellness? Well I can tell you the answer is simple. Studies have proven that showing gratitude has a massive effect on reducing anxiety and depression, and results in increased happiness. How can something so simple, yet effective get overlooked? I guess it’s one of those things that because it is so easy, people don’t believe that it would actually have any positive effect. But let me show you why this is going to help you take your happiness to the next level
Being grateful means that you are happy with what you’ve got
It’s as easy as that. If you are grateful, it means that you are happy. Someone once said that it is impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time. Think about it. If you are truly grateful, it means that you are happy with what you have got. You are not thinking about what someone else has got, or what you should have got, you are instead grateful for what you have. Now I know that it can be tough if there was something you really wanted to achieve, or something you missed out on that meant a lot to you. But you need to look past that. Would that achievement really have made your life complete? Or would you have ticked it off and then chased the next thing in your life that you ‘need to have’…
Why should I be grateful?
I never use to be grateful, and it showed. Whenever I achieved something at school, at uni, with friends, on a holiday, I would think about how it was good, but how I wanted the next thing. This is the opposite of being grateful. Now I have learnt to be grateful for my next meal. I mean how good is it that we live in a world that we can easily walk down to the shops, and buy nearly anything we like and have it for dinner? Or that we can access the internet and watch anything we like. Or that we can drive to our friend’s house, or give them a call on our mobile phone. Go back 200 years and our ancestors probably wouldn’t have dreamed of a world like this. You have been born into the 21st century, isn’t this something we can be grateful for right away? Can you be grateful for the fact that you are alive? Imagine you are dead, in the graveyard, and you have a thought that you could be alive for just one day. Would you be grateful to come back? I think so. I know it. So why not be grateful that you are alive, here living consciously and able to do whatever it is that makes you happy, even just for one more day.
An easy way to start cultivating gratitude
So it’s easy for someone to say, oh just be grateful, but we all know that won’t work. What we need to do is start cultivating gratitude. It will take time, but like planting a seed and watering it daily, the seed of gratitude will grow if you cultivate it. There are two steps for this. The first is I want you to leave a note pad next to your bed, and write down one thing that you are grateful for in your life each morning when you wake up (eg family, friends, an experience, your pet), and then at night before you go to bed, write down one thing that you were grateful for that happened during the day (someone that made you laugh, a good moment at work, or even if it was a bad day, gratitude for getting to leave work!). That’s it. By making your mind have to think about things you are grateful for, this will start to cultivate and develop the pathway to gratitude in your brain. You are well on your way to being happier than ever!
Start practicing gratitude today, and live a happier life tomorrow!
The key to remember is that this will take time, but it will work. Depression and anxiety can be reduced dramatically by showing gratitude for yourself, those around you, your past experiences and the world in general. I can promise you that if you practice it daily, you will start to see the positive in each testing situation, and you will be able to be present and realise that you are grateful for something that you have got, and not resentful or angry for something that you have not. Part of being grateful involves being a friend to yourself – so next I would like you to read my post on being your own best friend by clicking here.
About the author – Stef – Mental Health Advocate
Stef is a mental health advocate who dedicates much of his free time to improving his own and others mental health. Click here to have a read about Stef’s story and why he is so passionate about mental health, wellness and positive living.