During the winter months, our thoughts turn towards the holidays, family, and friends. This time of year provides the perfect opportunity to stop and practice some gratitude. And while it is nice to feel grateful, there are actual mental health benefits to expressing gratitude.
The Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is the practice of acknowledging the positive people and events in your life. It can be as simple as being thankful for your brother who sent you a text to check-in or feeling grateful for a cozy spot on the couch to relax at the end of the day. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
A 2015 study found that compared with the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counseling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns.
One effective way to practice gratitude is writing in a gratitude journal. Create a routine at the end of your day where you can sit down and write down all the good things that have happened to you throughout the day. Just the act of acknowledging these positives can help remind you of the good things in your life. When you’re feeling lonely, gratitude journaling can help you feel more connected by thinking of people in your life who have reached out to you or cared for you.
Another way to feel connected to others while practicing gratitude is to write someone a thank you note. This could be a note that you send or a note that you keep. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. You can cultivate the habit of sending one thank you letter a month.
To feel connected to yourself, try writing yourself a letter of gratitude. Thank your body for caring for you through your day. Thank yourself for learning the skills you have to have put you on the path towards your career goals. Writing down your appreciation of your own attributes can boost self-esteem and help you feel more optimistic.
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We help young adults step out of their comfort zone, improve their self-esteem, and help our clients build their confidence through self-success. Our program helps create positive changes and improvements through engagement and adventure. We have a supportive environment that encourages clients to push themselves physically and emotionally to create lasting changes.
Life is a journey. Our comprehensive multi-faceted and clinical approach in the wilderness helps young adults and their parents navigate this journey in a positive direction. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight-oriented therapy, outdoor living, adventure activities and academic focus these young adults will find their true selves. For more information please call (208) 269-7554.