Gratitude + Mental Health: Why They Go Together Like Turkey & Gravy
Have you ever sat around a table on Thanksgiving and been asked to share one thing you’re grateful for?For some, this is an easy request. “My job!” “My dog!” “My health!”
For others, this can literally be the reason they nearly faked a headache an hour before they were supposed to arrive. While it could simply be a fear of speaking in front of others, sometimes it’s that we’re subconsciously afraid to say what we’re grateful for. In a way, it’s like we’ll jinx it.
While we can’t do a whole lot for your stage fright, we can make quite a good case for expressing your gratitude (all year round.)
In this post, we’re chatting about the benefits of expressing gratitude as well as the gratitude practices we love.
Scroll down to learn more!
Benefits of Expressing Gratitude
#grateful is a thing for a reason. Just ask Robert Emmons Ph.D., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.
His decades of research shows that actively expressing your gratitude:
- Improves your outlook on life and makes you more optimistic
- Increases your confidence and self-efficacy
- Improves your relationship with a romantic partner, friend or family member
- Helps you make new friends and connections
- Promotes better physical health (stronger immune system, less pain, lower blood pressure)
- Promotes better mental health (Can help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression)
- Decreases feelings such as envy, resentment and aggression
- Increases empathy, generosity and compassion
- Fosters resilience
As we continue to live in the chaos that is the 2020s, it’s never been more important to take care of our mental health. Keep reading to find out the gratitude practices we love.
Gratitude Practices We Love
Now that we know how powerful gratitude is when it comes to our mental and physical health, let’s talk about all of the ways you can cultivate it!
1.) Create a Gratitude Wall or Board
Seeing what you’re grateful for every day is a powerful thing. Try creating a collage on your wall or make a board (similar to a vision board) that allows you to stick photos, words or drawings of the things you’re grateful for.
2.) Keep a Gratitude Journal
One of the most fascinating studies Dr Emmons did was on journaling gratitude.
“In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.” (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
Meditation is a great way to consciously show love for the things you’re grateful for. While you can simply sit and do this silently, there are some fantastic guided meditation tracks on gratitude on apps like Calm and Insight Timer.
4.) Get a Gratitude Buddy
Sometimes you need an accountability partner! Try finding a friend or family member that you either call, text or email every day and mutually share 3-5 things you’re grateful for.
5.) Say it Out Loud
One of the best ways to consistently express gratitude is to make it part of your morning and/or evening routine. The minute your head hits the pillow or your feet hit the floor, express your gratitude audibly! You could also do this when you get in the car or get home from work!
6.) Write a Letter
If you’re particularly grateful for someone – tell them! Writing a letter of gratitude won’t just make your day – it will make the recipient’s too! Even if you don’t send it, the act of expressing your gratitude will still work wonders.
7.) Call a Friend
Nothing brings us more joy than someone calling to say they are grateful that we’re in their life. Honestly, it’s soul-soothing to feel that love. Try calling a friend (or family member) and letting them know that you’re so grateful that they’re in your life.
8.) Look in a Mirror
Self-love isn’t selfish. Take a moment to look at yourself and thank YOU for showing up everyday. Thank your smile, your eyes, your ears, your hands… thank everything about you.
9.) Make It (Another) Love Language
If you’re in a romantic relationship, let your partner know that you’re grateful for them and why. This can be emotional or physical aspects. It will deepen your bond and connection as well as your appreciation and respect for each other.
Perhaps the OG of gratitude expression, prayer is a beautiful way to consciously give thanks for the people, food, opportunities and experiences in your life.
Meet Bryony Body Yoga + Meditation Instructor: Veronica Woodlief
In 2017, Veronica was diagnosed with Panic Attack Disorder and PTSD. Searching for a way to soothe the anxiety, she committed to a 40-day Kundalini meditation practice and her life has never been the same. Veronica knew instantly that she wanted to become a teacher and share the benefits of this practice with others, which is why she chose to complete the Kundalini Research Institute’s 200 hour YTT.
Veronica’s goal is to empower students with practices that promote a sense of inner peace, balance in body, mind & spirit, and a strong sense of self. She strives to bring a grounded approach to esoteric spiritual concepts and yogic philosophy so they’re relatable and easy-to-understand. Off the mat, Veronica loves cooking vegan food, reading, and spending time on the beach with her husband and two dogs.
Click here to book a Bryony Body class with Veronica!
Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times:
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- It doesn’t matter if it’s the harsh winter air or summer’s constant sun exposure, your hair has to handle a lot! Click here to read why non-toxic hair dye (and hair products) matters.