Being grateful promotes health and well-being

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There has been much focus over the past several years on the practice of gratitude and how it can positively influence our emotional and mental health.  A recent study (Brown and Wong, 2017) looked at University students who were suffering from anxiety and depression and seeking counselling support.   Participants in the study who wrote letters of gratitude weekly to another person  for three weeks reported significantly improved mental health , compared to control groups who only received general counselling support.

The authors write, “…practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counselling carries greater benefits than counselling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.”  The researchers also studied the brains of the students and found that this brief practice of gratitude positively influenced brain functioning.

So what are the implications of this study, and many others like it?  Finding a way to be grateful may be a powerful way to shift your mood and overall health.  Incorporating a gratitude practice into your daily life does not need to take a lot of time or effort and the payoff may be astounding.

Some ideas:

  • Write letters to friends , family or even people you haven’t met expressing something about them that you are grateful for
  • Make a list of things in your life that you are thankful for – these can be big things or small things
  • Visualize the positive aspects or experiences in your day that make you feel good
  • Express verbally your gratitude to others, or to yourself even
  • And then…. observe what begins to change in your life 🙂

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