Gratitude feels good, right? Absolutely! The psychological benefits of giving thanks or practising gratitude have long been known, and research shows that the simple yet powerful act of gratitude can lift the spirits, raise feelings of positivity and help us connect to people and powers beyond our own beings.
In a recent study of 300 adults struggling with depression- and anxiety-related issues, those who were assigned to write gratitude letters experienced significantly better mental health for up to three months afterwards. Researchers also discovered four key insights into how gratitude may benefit the mind and body:
Gratitude releases us from toxic emotions
By using fewer negative emotion words (not necessarily more positive ones) and focusing on what we are grateful for, we can divert our attention away from toxic emotions such as resentment and jealousy.
Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain
Those who are generally more grateful show greater sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with learning and decision making. Practising gratitude may help train the brain to be more aware of gratitude as time goes on, further contributing to better mental wellbeing.
Gratitude benefits don’t happen overnight
Writing a gratitude letter may not bring immediate benefits but instead build up over time – so don’t give up quickly and do stick with it!
Gratitude doesn’t always need to be shared
The act of writing a letter and not necessarily communicating it to another person may contribute to a mental health uplift. By putting pen to paper we can show our appreciation for who and what we have in our life, and divert our focus from feelings of negativity.
Whether you’re looking to strengthen your relationships through gratitude and positivity, improve your positive mental attitude, or simply uplevel your happiness factor, practicing gratitude in the form of this loving ritual will help guide you along the right path.
1 Grab your journal and write down 10 things you are grateful for
2 Listen to the meditation I made for you below
3 Let someone close to you know you are grateful for them
4 Put your hands on your heart and give thanks to yourself by simply saying ‘thank you’