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Gratitude: A simple and effective way to happiness

With the holidays around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about the most efficient ways of coping with stress. While many positive emotions serve as undercurrents to the holidays- love, togetherness, appreciation- the demands of the season an also be a significant stressor for many. But did you know that incorporating something as simple as gratitude into your daily life, can have profound and positive effects on your well-being and mental health?
There is a wealth of psychological research demonstrating the powerful effects of gratitude. A number of articles published by researchers from institutions including Berkeley[1] and the University of Miami[2] have looked into the effects of expressions of gratitude and, time and again, they have demonstrated its far-reaching and long-lasting positive psychological benefits.
In one interesting study, researchers randomly assigned 300 adult participants who were seeking counselling services at a University[1] to one of three groups. One group wrote one letter of gratitude per week, another group wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences, the third wrote nothing[1]. Following the study, those who participated in the gratitude exercise reported significantly better mental health and happiness. A second study, involving researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Miami, found similarly that when participants were divided into three groups and asked to write either about things that irritated them, things they were grateful for, or just things that had generally affected them, participants from the gratitude group were more optimistic and felt better about their lives[2]. Additional research into gratitude has also demonstrated a wide range of effects, including that personally delivered letters of gratitude have a huge positive impact on happiness, that gratitude has a powerful positive and connective effect on couples, and that managers who remember to express gratitude motivate their employees to work harder and more effectively[2].
There are a number of ways we recommend you can practically bring gratitude into your life to improve your emotional state. You can keep a daily or weekly journal documenting all of the things you are grateful for, make a conscious effort to write and share thank-you notes, encourage your family, partner, or friends to go around the dinner table once a week and share what they are thankful for, focus grateful meditation, or put your own spin on things however you see fit. How you practice gratitude and integrate it into your daily life is less important than that you make a conscious effort to do so. If you need additional help to improve your mental health, we recommend that you book an appointment today on our website- but if you’re looking for a way to take your treatment and mental health to the next level, gratitude may just be the way to do it. And on that note, thank you for reading.

1. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude