Practicing gratitude has really become a movement over the past several years, with many of us searching for ways to take care of our mental health and acknowledge the good things in our lives. And there’s no better time to practice gratitude than the holiday season.
Many of us think of this time as an opportunity to reflect on the last year — the challenges we faced, but also what brought us joy. The very act of reflection and expressing gratitude can help you through tough times, and can also guide you into being more aware of the things you should be grateful for, making it a habit to notice the good.
Here are just a few mental health benefits of practicing gratitude:
1. Improved self-esteem and outlook on life. When we begin to actively express gratitude for our own lives and circumstances, rather than fall into the traps of comparison and self-doubt, self-esteem will naturally increase, leading to an overall higher quality of life.
2. Better physical health. Practicing gratitude can help encourage you to meet your physical goals and acknowledge your strengths. Feeling your best can give you reasons to feel grateful, and vice versa.
3. Better sleep. When you note the things you’re feeling grateful for daily, whether it be saying them aloud or writing them in a journal, you end your day on a positive note and give your brain the ok to rest peacefully.
4. Stronger relationships. Practicing gratitude in your relationships will naturally strengthen your bonds. When your loved ones experience your signaling gratitude to and for them, they will be prompted to do the same. That love and appreciation helps keep your relationships strong and healthy.
It’s not always easy to express gratitude, especially during difficult times. But as you train your brain to make this a habit, you’ll begin to see the benefits of doing so.