Sometimes it is easy to be grateful, but it can be challenging, especially when you feel burned out, exhausted, or stressed. In addition, gratitude does not always feel natural to people because some of them have a negativity bias, meaning they give higher importance to negative experiences and thoughts than positive ones. However, gratitude is a skill that you can develop with practice, and studies show that it positively impacts your quality of life and mental health.
Gratitude can be categorized as a behavior, attitude, state of being, emotion, or mood. Researchers define it as an experience with two parts: Recognizing that good things have come your way and realizing that something or someone is at least partly responsible for those good things. Gratitude is different from toxic positivity. The goal is to focus on the good stuff without ignoring negative thoughts and difficult emotions. Instead, you remind yourself that good things are possible, even during hard times and stress.
You can focus on gratitude at any age by using strategies to express thanks and access joy to help you feel more focused, optimistic, and free to seek the support you need. Experts on mental health therapy in Winter Park recommend practicing these tips for a few minutes a day to boost your sense of gratitude:
This practice will make you more aware of moments of gratitude. When you are thankful for someone or something, take a moment to pause and realize what it is like to feel grateful for even just a few breaths. Noticing gratitude can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction with your life.
Journaling after your day can help highlight positive moments and allow you recognition of things that are going better than you realize. Practicing gratitude will boost your overall wellbeing, give you a more optimistic outlook on life, and reduce your physical stress symptoms. In addition, writing a list of things you are grateful for two weeks can offer you decreased depression symptoms, fewer negative feelings, boosted life satisfaction, increased happiness, and more positivity. Effectually, taking a little time out of your day to focus on gratitude will give you more reasons to be grateful in the future.
Mental subtraction is a thought experiment to promote and amplify gratitude. For example, when you experience something positive, try imagining what things would be like if you hadn’t, or if a different, less-desirable result would have occurred instead. Research confirms that mental subtraction can improve your mood and help you cultivate more gratitude in your daily life.
Gratitude is the perfect way to promote joy, improve your level of life satisfaction, and stay focused on the future. Being mindfully aware of things you are grateful for supports your emotional and mental health. Practice gratitude exercises to help you identify things you are thankful for and experience the feeling it brings. Though it takes dedication and time to build more gratitude in your life, you will feel more satisfied, supported, at ease, and joyful in your life.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.