How Gratitude Can Boost Your Mental Health
It is easy to get overwhelmed in a world of increasing stress and uncertainty. The past few years alone have resulted in sweeping changes that left many wondering about their future. People need to take care of their mental health to keep their peace. The good news is that everyone has access to a powerful solution called “gratitude.” We all experience this emotion spontaneously throughout our lives, but few recognize its power.
Gratitude’s impact on mental health
Psychologists are discovering the multiple benefits of practicing gratitude. Making a conscious effort to count one’s blessings, such as daily logs in a gratitude journal, can progressively boost mental health in the following ways:
Increases life satisfaction
Our brains have a negative bias. We tend to notice the bad things more than the good ones because it pushes us to deal with problems right away. The discomfort helps us survive in a hostile environment.
However, this can reach an unhealthy level if we fail to manage it. Focusing on the bad can make us feel that life is nothing but never-ending suffering.
We can get a more balanced perspective by thinking about the good things around us. Rays of light penetrate the dark. The way we look at the world changes once we train ourselves to search for the positives in every situation. Gratitude gradually increases life satisfaction.
Disrupts negative thinking patterns
No one wants to be anxious and depressed all the time. However, negative thinking patterns will not disappear even if we don’t want them. We have to replace them with positive habits to turn things around. Practicing gratitude is an excellent way to start.
We have to train our minds to search for the little joys every day. The more we focus on the bright spots in life, the easier it becomes. Feelings such as fear, panic, and anger eventually give way to excitement, satisfaction, and appreciation. Stress levels go down as gratitude goes up.
Gratitude drives motivation
Negative thinkers tend to feel hopeless about their situation. They do not see any way to improve their current circumstances because of the obstacles blocking their way. They might think that there is no point in trying.
When we practice gratitude, we start seeing obstacles as stepping stones towards success; we value the skills and the assets that we do have.
We start to believe in our capacity to use these values and skills to achieve our own goals and become more optimistic about what’s on the horizon. This belief is vital in motivating us to take action and move with purpose.
Fear of the future drives anxiety. The future is uncertain, but it is better to look at this neutrally. Bad things may happen, but so can good things. Instead of worrying about what might come next, we could be recalling instances when we overcame what seemed like insurmountable challenges in the past.
We could be grateful for the lessons we learned from those experiences and how these have improved our lives today. Gratitude helps us remember how far we have come despite the setbacks. It pushes us to trust our ability to deal with life’s endless surprises based on past success.
Gratitude lowers aggression and enhances empathy
Studies show that people with high levels of gratitude tend to behave well in social settings. This is true even if others do not behave as kindly to them. They are not likely to retaliate in these situations despite the provocation.
Grateful individuals exhibit elevated sensitivity towards others. They have greater empathy which helps them foster social connections. They have stronger bonds with those around them, so they have more satisfying relationships.
Results in better sleep
Overthinking can make us toss and turn at night. Instead of getting much-needed rest, we could end up mentally exhausted and physically depleted the next day. It is difficult to rein in the brain when it is in overdrive, but gratitude seems to help.
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Applied Psychology, the habit of writing in a gratitude journal enabled people to sleep better and longer. These journal entries don’t have to be long or detailed. As little as 15 minutes each night is enough to write 3 to 5 grateful sentiments for restful sleep.
Developing mental strength
Traumatic experiences can leave deep emotional and mental scars. They are difficult to bounce back from, with many dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder long after the incident. For example, PTSD is common among soldiers who go to war.
Studies show that veterans of the Vietnam War who exhibited high levels of gratitude have lower rates of PTSD. The same pattern was seen among the survivors of the September 11 attacks. Gratitude fortified their resilience and helped them cope with the trauma. People can find things to be grateful for even in the darkest hours.
Final Words on Gratitude
Elevations RTC is a top residential treatment center that caters to students ages 13 to 17.6. The facility combines intensive psychiatric treatment with competent academic guidance.
We make it possible for students to attend class and socialize on our beautiful Utah campus as they get better. We accept students of all genders to create an inclusive community that mirrors the real-world teen experience.
If you have a child struggling with mental health, consider seeking professional assistance. Elevations RTC is the ideal destination for gaining emotional maturity, enhancing resilience, and building confidence — all while graduating on time. Our competent medical team creates effective treatment programs for every student. With our help, teenagers can adopt healthy habits such as gratitude to set them up for a happy and successful adulthood.