May is Mental Health Awareness month, so we wanted to explore the concept of gratitude and its potential to have a positive effect on mental health. It’s well known that having an appreciative attitude throughout life can help you feel better, but it’s also a proven phenomenon in the scientific world. Scientists have discovered that gratitude is one of the key components of maintaining mental health. There is even supporting evidence that practicing gratitude can contribute to improving one’s overall health. This is not surprising, given that giving and receiving gratitude helps to maintain a positive outlook. Let’s explore what gratitude is, ways you can practice it, and finally, the benefits of practicing gratuity.
What is gratitude? Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Words like thankful, grateful, and appreciative are commonly used synonymously with the word gratitude. During Thanksgiving, we stress the importance of reflecting on the things that we hold dear to our hearts. We all, for the most part, agree on the importance of openly expressing our gratitude and happiness for our blessings during this time of year. But, our lives today are as hectic as ever, and gratitude, in its fullness, requires one to stop and take the time to reflect actively. If we really want the full benefits of having gratitude, it should be an everyday practice. Most people would agree that they are indeed thankful for many things, but there is a stark difference between being grateful and actively practicing and expressing gratitude.
How do you practice gratitude? The act of practicing gratitude implies that it is something you can actively do instead of just being. After all, being is defined as the act of existing, which doesn’t require conscious awareness from an individual. Practice, on the other hand, is defined as carrying out or performing (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly. It is a verb that requires individuals to do something rather than just be something. When you practice gratuity daily, it means that you express it outwardly in some form or fashion. You can express it through writing, such as letters or poems, or you can verbally express yourself. If you are bringing your inward feelings of gratitude outward in some way, you are manifesting your feelings and helping your mind and body reap the benefits.
What are the health benefits of practicing gratitude? A thankful mind is very often a healthy mind. Brain scans of study participants have shown significant improvement after actively expressing gratitude. This is wonderful news! You can help others, and yourself, feel better through one act. Socially speaking, you can help bring positive vibes into different situations by expressing to others that you are grateful for them and their actions. Taking a grateful attitude can help instill a sense of security and peace within one’s mind. Acknowledging those who are responsible for the good in your life can help calm anxiety and stifle feelings of depression. As an added benefit, showing gratitude has been linked to improved physical health, such as cardiovascular health, a stronger immune system, and improved sleep habits.
In closing, practicing gratitude on a regular basis can be a win-win situation for you and those around you. We should always take the opportunity to play an active and beneficial role in our health lives. There is much to gain by simply letting people know you appreciate them and acknowledging and being consciously aware of the good things about your life. Gratitude is a beneficial, refreshing, and all-around healthy attitude. Thank you for reading. We truly appreciate you.
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