Thankfulness or gratitude is defined as being thankful for something, with readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
According to Psychology Today, practicing thankfulness can effectively increase happiness and reduce feelings of depression. So, how can you get in on the positivity and make practicing thankfulness part of your daily routine?
Positive Psychology has some really good tips (backed by research), that has shown expressing gratitude can:
- Help you make friends. One study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek a more lasting relationship with you.
- Improve your physical health. People who exhibit gratitude report fewer aches and pains, a general feeling of health, more regular exercise, and more frequent check-ups with their doctor than those who don’t.
- Improve your psychological health. Grateful people enjoy higher wellbeing and happiness and suffer from reduced symptoms of depression.
- Enhance empathy and reduces aggression. Those who show their gratitude are less likely to seek revenge against others and more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, with sensitivity and empathy.
- Improve your sleep. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you sleep longer and better.
- Enhance your self-esteem. People who are grateful have increased self-esteem, partly due to their ability to appreciate other peoples’ accomplishments.
The most important movement we can create by raising awareness of mental health is to get people TALKING, speaking out about our feelings can instantly relieve some of the bad energy we are holding. To help you practice speaking openly about your feelings we have put together some helpful tips to practice thankfulness and gratitude:
- Thankful Journal – Start each day by writing down 3-5 things you’re thankful for. This causes us to focus on only the positives in our lives for a few moments, instantly boosting our moods. This is a good exercise to practice if you feel you need to build up the confidence to talk to someone in person.
- Gratitude Walk – When you are going through a hard time or your emotions feel like they’re getting too much, try cleansing your mind with a gratitude walk. This will help combat those negative feelings and decrease stress, while increasing your body’s release of endorphins. Observe the things around you and take it all in, you could even invite a friend to join you on your walk.
- Share Your Gratitude with Others – Research has found that expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships. The next time your partner, friend or family member does something you appreciate, be sure to let them know.
We want to put the last point in to practice so we’re asking you to share with us someone you are thankful for and why. It could be a family member, a colleague, a neighbour, or someone else who has done something to make you smile. Head over to our Social Media posts on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and let us know what, or who, you are thankful for and why.
If you or someone you know is struggling, we want you to know you are not alone and there is help and support out there to access. Reach out to someone you trust, a doctor or mental health charity to discuss how you are feeling: Mental health services – NHS (www.nhs.uk)