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Feeling Sad or depressed? Unlock eternal Happiness through Gratitude

gratitude journal

Feeling Sad or depressed? Unlock eternal Happiness through Gratitude

 

We all want a happy life. We want to have a well-paying job, a happy family, a beautiful house, and a good social status. But while pursuing all of these, we often forget to show gratitude for what we already have. We drown in a sea of sadness for the things we don't have, and anxiety for the things we strive to achieve. But being grateful for the present is key to a happier and more fulfilled life. 

Gratitude is deeply associated with happiness. Research shows that people who are grateful feel more positive about life. They see the good things in life rather than get drowned in the negatives. But it doesn't end with happiness.

Gratitude has so much amazing impact on your overall mental health and can act as an antidepressant. That's because gratitude is not just an act--it is an emotion.

What is gratitude and how do you practice it?

Gratitude is the feeling and practice of being thankful for all that you have, all that you are, and the kindness you received from people. It's about saying "thank you" for the moment without being anxious about what may or may not happen in the future. Gratitude is counting your blessings.

People express gratitude in different ways. Some can feel gratitude by retrieving pleasant memories of the past, and some show it by being hopeful and optimistic for the future. You can practice gratitude by writing and sending a thank-you note to everyone that has ever shown you kindness.

When you appreciate that you're alive even when someone somewhere is on the sick bed or just gave their last breath, you've also expressed gratitude.

It's pretty much like how you feel angry and stressed when you dwell on the things that aren't going well in your life. You reminisce about your annoying boss at work, that driver who made you arrive late to the office, and other daily irritations. Such thoughts provoke negative feelings the longer you dwell on them.

And according to research, people tend to have higher happiness scores when they practice gratitude consistently. Emphasis on consistency, so it's something you want to practice continously as a part of your life to reap the eternal benefits.

How gratitude impacts your mental health

1.      Gratitude brings happiness

Many people search for happiness. But unknown to them, happiness already resides within them.

Gratitude induces happiness by acknowledging your blessings. People who regularly express gratitude for the good things in their life tend to be happier than those who focus on their challenges and goals.

2.      Gratitude acts as a natural depressant

British psychologist and wellness expert Robert Holden opined that depression, anxiety, and stress are typically rooted in unhappiness.

By bringing feelings of contentment and happiness, practicing gratitude can help improve your mood when stressed or anxious. When you do it daily, you're less likely to find yourself falling into a depression. This also translates to lower rates of stress and anxiety.

3.      Gratitude makes you feel better

Practicing gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal, complimenting yourself, and saying sincere thank-yous to people who have affected your life can make you immediately feel better about yourself. That's because gratitude promotes the release of feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin, two crucial neurotransmitters that regulate our emotions.

4.      Gratitude improves overall health

Studies show that people who practice gratitude are more likely to engage in other health-promoting activities like exercising, following doctor's recommendations, and sticking to a healthier lifestyle. In addition, being thankful for the good things of life causes less stress, makes you sleep better, and improves your emotional awareness. 

5.      It makes you more optimistic

Since you're focused on positive things rather than your worries, your thoughts tend to steer towards the belief that even better things are on the way.

You acknowledge good things have happened and are happening, so why not in the future as well? Being optimistic about the future is very important in the present. It helps you see the bright side of things even when everything else looks gloomy.

Final Words

Practicing gratitude doesn't mean living in denial and ignoring all the looming difficulties. Challenges must come. But that's all the more reason to be grateful for the good things as well so you don’t get drowned in the deep sea of negativity.

Finally, when you say thank-you sincerely to someone else, they get more release of dopamine and serotonin as well. So it's a two-way thing. You feel better, and you're also improving someone else's mood. Start practicing gratitude today and watch your life change for the better.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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