When something bad happens, it’s easy for it to stick in your mind. You might dwell on it, your stress levels increase and, before you know it, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about negative things.
It stands to reason if you take the opposite approach, the opposite result will occur.
That’s where gratitude – or the practise of being grateful – comes in. Gratitude is all about noticing the good parts of your life and using those to build a life that satisfies, pleases and fulfils you.
It isn’t about ignoring the not-so-great parts of your life; instead, it’s about helping you focus on the positives in your life, so you can make the most of them. This can help you get through the harder times too.
Research has shown people who feel grateful are in a better mood, enjoy their life, are more resilient and even healthier. Gratitude is also used in therapy settings to prevent or improve mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Many people are choosing to be grateful on more than an ad hoc basis; they’re doing it as a life project that will really change their whole outlook.
Below are some ideas for practising gratitude:
Being mindful can help you look out for things you’re grateful for. Think about not just what it is you’re grateful for, but why this is something you felt went well. Then you can devise ways to incorporate those things that make you feel good into your days.
Keep a journal
Gratitude journals are a common way for people to maintain a gratefulness habit. Writing down what you feel grateful for each day can help you look out for the good things and really think about why you’re grateful for them. Some people aim for one thing to be grateful for each day, while others write as many as they can think of. If you don’t think writing is for you, think about other ways you can journal your gratitude: a photograph each day, a scrapbook, a picture or a blog are some options.
Often, we’re told to ‘think big’ but, when it comes to gratitude, the smaller the better. Noticing the small things in life is key to starting a sustainable gratitude habit. Take a few moments to smile at the small things that bring joy into your life, like a sunny day or a chat over the water cooler with a colleague, or a funny text message from a friend.
Let others know
Your gratefulness might often include others around you. You might be grateful for your partner holding your hand when you felt down, or a friend’s kind words, for example. Let the people in your life know you’re grateful for their kindness or even just their presence, so try writing them a thank you note or giving them a grateful hug. This is also shown to help build and maintain relationships.
http://au.reachout.com/all-about-gratitude. Accessed 30 April 2018.
http://365grateful.com. Accessed 30 April 2018.
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/factsheets/positivepsychology.pdf?sfvrsn=2. Accessed 30 April 2018.
http://theconversation.com/more-than-words-saying-thank-you-does-make-a-difference-30920. Accessed 30 April 2018.
This article was provided by SuperFriend®, a national health promotion foundation that helps ‘all profit to member’ super funds to promote and support improved mental health and wellbeing for their members, through the workplace. SuperFriend provides easy to understand information about mental health and mental illness, tips on how workplaces can create supportive work environments and importantly, where to find reliable help if you or someone you know needs assistance.