Gratitude

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Gratitude comes in different ways. Starting with its definition, we can infer various applications of the word from its meaning. One definition is the quality of being thankful and readiness to show appreciation. Another definition is somewhat related to being grateful and appreciativeness is giving or being kind. Understanding that another person has tried to help is an example of being thankful. Giving your thanks and appreciation is an example of showing your gratitude.

Over the last several decades, researchers worldwide have been conducting studies on gratitude. These studies show evidence of various types of health and mental health benefits within the concept of gratitude. Indebtedness or responsibility and successfully coping with life’s challenges and stressors are interlinked. Indeed, people who practice this form of recognition tend to be more optimistic and to have healthy habits such as exercising, eating well, and arranging for needed medical care and screenings. 

In turn, gratitude can lower blood pressure, creating a better functioning immune system while reducing an assortment of Mental Health Issues. People often recover quicker from ailments when they have an appreciation of gratitude. Ultimately, improving physical and mental pleasures (which often increase when we are grateful) contributes to people experiencing a longer and more active life.

To that point, having gratitude is closely associated with our mental health and our life’s satisfaction. 

Who does not want to share mutual appreciation? Optimally, it helps guide us to a sentiment of happiness, vitality, and a strong belief or faith that eventually triumphs over evil. In addition, this pattern often occurs during periods of doubt and agonizing times. These are times when feelings of gratitude shield us from catastrophic reactions, similar to jealousy and bitterness. When our healing nature is apparent, it explains and shows everyone why gratitude can reduce the risk of developing anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.

Many cultures, religions, and ordinary folk like us have organized and promoted ritualistic behaviors and activities that solely focus on displaying our thanks and self-reflection. One prime example is from the history of the United States when the fourth Thursday* in November becomes a formal day to pause and break from our regular routines. Way back in 1789, President George Washington declared this a federal holiday. 

Furthermore, many families and friends gather together on Thanksgiving to reflect, give respect to, and express gratitude to one another. Plus, we need to take more time than Thanksgiving to reflect and be grateful, which can be very beneficial to our Physical and Mental Health.

For most of us, Thanksgiving and other winter holidays can be both a time of exhilarating celebrations and a period of deep heavy stress that can lead to an array of physical and mental health maladies. Naturally, no one wants stress any part of the year, especially around the holiday season, so we try to do more positive things and be more grateful for what we can accomplish. 

Please take advantage of this season to forge ahead with our ways to practice our appreciation of others. In addition to giving our thanks when we get together with friends and family, we can take a few moments and reflect and at other times make a written list to show the small things we have accomplished over the last year. Reciting one of these items aloud at our Thanksgiving meal can raise everyone’s gratitude consciousness.

People who feel lonely or depressed or are highly anxious during the season may find a small measure of self-worth by doing this type of activity. In addition, for whatever reasons, listing what we are grateful for can help us deal with us, challenging our often misunderstood emotions. The energy to reach out to others in need and those struggling with the ability to focus on their well-being begins with gratefulness.

Practicing gratitude can be pretty straightforward. 

All that’s needed is a pen and some paper in a notebook. 

  • WRITE: down your thoughts like a short letter
  • VISUALIZE: what do you see on your paper?
  • REFLECT: is your life as horrific as it seems?
  • CONFRONT: are you able to find a sense of gratitude despite these issues?

Switching your focus promotes a sense of well-being and gratitude. There is another alternative. Make a secret file on your computer, laptop, or tablet. Keep the password, and do not share it with anyone!

Another way to display gratitude is to use a pen or marker, a multi-colored packet of three-by-five post-it notes, a box of pushpins, and a hangable corkboard. Write down on each post-it note all that you are grateful for in life.

Put letters, cards, postcards, pictures, and expressions of love and appreciation from family and friends. Imagine what this board can be with the right energy?!

Do you have any gratitude? Do you show or display your appreciation? Do you practice your gratitude? Whether you say yes or no, it does not matter. All of us can improve our appreciation. When we improve our level of appreciation, we will increase our overall physical health and our overall mental health. 

See you in the news blogs.

*For another perspective, please read the link: “National Day of Mourning.”

About the Author

Howard Diamond CPS (Certified Peer Specialist)

Howard Diamond, CPS (Certified Peer Specialist) is a hardworking Editorial Board Member and eager contributor to Mental Health Affairs. He has worked in various settings all over Long Island and New York State where he resides. His articles are layered with incredible profound insights into his health and state of being, which resonate with his audience do deeply struggling with their mental health and connection to the bigger world. Howard has a dedicated following of readers and he also writes for other websites on his lived experience and ongoing thoughts on mental health. We are happy to have him working with the site and being so gracious with his time, energy, and dedication to our site.
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