“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow,” said author, Melody Beattie. This time of year, many of us take time to reflect on the things we are thankful for- big and small. I want to challenge you to think about these things every day, long after the leftovers and the lights form the holidays are gone.
Gratitude is good for your mental health. When we recognize what we are thankful for, especially during hard times, we are developing resilience. It’s a way to put us back on track when our thoughts get dark. According to Psychology Today, “gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions from envy to resentment to frustration and regret.” Multiple studies done by gratitude researcher, Robert Emmons shows gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
I have heard from several sources how beneficial it can be to spend some time before you go to bed and write down 3-5 things you were grateful for that day in a journal. It may surprise you how calm it can make you feel.
I have my days where I dwell on what I don’t have. I let myself feel the feelings, but only for a day. I then think about my family, friends, my job, my dog- all the things I am blessed to have in my life. It does bring me peace. Give it a try and see how it makes you feel.
Wishing you all the best during the holiday season!
Some reading suggestions on gratitude:
“How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope” edited by James Crews
“The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan
“The Thank-You Project” by Nancy Davis Kho